ThereAreNoSunglasses

American Resistance To Empire

Brutal Israeli Trainers Taught Knee-To-Neck Strangle-Hold To Minnesota Cops and Thousands of Others

Israeli police detain a Palestinian protestor on March 12, 2019, with the same knee-to-neck move that killed George Floyd.

Israelis Trained the Minnesota Cop How to Kill

Precisely as I reported, Minnesota police received Israeli training. The knee-on-neck is an Israeli restraint hold that Israeli forces use for breaking Palestinian necks.  I doubt the Minneapolis cop intended to kill Floyd.  He probably thought he was just using a restraint technique.  In so many of the cases of police-inflicted death and injury there is no need for restraint. People are not resisting. Maybe the cops just want to practice their training.

Another main cause of police-inflicted death and injury are the middle of the night home invasions, sanctioned by courts and local authorities.  There is absolutely no reason for these invasions.  They are nothing but murder weapons.

The real murderers of George Floyd were the Israelis who taught the Minnesota cops the knee-on-neck restraint technique.  The irresponsible court rulings that permit unannounced home invasions have also killed a lot of people. The police have been turned into killers by their absurd and inappropriate training. The cop will pay the price for his wrongful training just as did George Floyd.

It is pure idiocy to let those responsible for these practices off the hook and to run around shouting “racism.”  Knee-on-neck is a restraint technique taught to the police.  It is not racism. The technique should not have been taught to American police, and people who are not resisting should not be restrained. George Floyd died because of wrongful police training, not because of racism.

Source

Over 100 Minnesota law enforcement officers attended a 2012 conference organized by the Israeli consulate in which Israeli police trained them. Israeli forces often use the knee-on-neck restraint on Palestinians. (Meanwhile, Congress is poised to pass a bipartisan $38 billion package to Israel)… Read two reports below:

Minnesota cops ‘trained by Israeli forces in restraint techniques’

By Jon Collins, reposted from the UK Morning Star newspaper (embedded links added by IAK)

Officers from the US police force responsible for the killing of George Floyd received training in restraint techniques and anti-terror tactics from Israeli law-enforcement officers.

Mr Floyd’s death in custody last Monday, the latest in a succession of police killings of African Americans, has sparked continuing protests and rioting in US cities.

At least 100 Minnesota police officers attended a 2012 conference hosted by the Israeli consulate in Chicago, the second time such an event had been held.

There they learned the violent techniques used by Israeli forces as they terrorise the occupied Palestinian territories under the guise of security operations.

The so-called counterterrorism training conference in Minneapolis was jointly hosted by the FBI.

Israeli deputy consul Shahar Arieli claimed that the half-day session brought “top-notch professionals from the Israeli police” to share knowledge with their US counterparts.

It is unclear whether any of the officers involved in the incident in which Mr Floyd was killed attended the conference.

Israeli forces broke necks

Continues … https://israelpalestinenews.org/minn-cops-trained-by-israeli-police-who-often-use-knee-on-neck-restraint/ 

American cities and towns…are not “battle spaces” to be dominated.–Adm. Mike Mullen

 

DREW ANGERER / GETTY 

It sickened me yesterday to see security personnel—including members of the National Guard—forcibly and violently clear a path through Lafayette Square to accommodate the president’s visit outside St. John’s Church. I have to date been reticent to speak out on issues surrounding President Trump’s leadership, but we are at an inflection point, and the events of the past few weeks have made it impossible to remain silent.

Whatever Trump’s goal in conducting his visit, he laid bare his disdain for the rights of peaceful protest in this country, gave succor to the leaders of other countries who take comfort in our domestic strife, and risked further politicizing the men and women of our armed forces.

There was little good in the stunt.

While no one should ever condone the violence, vandalism, and looting that has exploded across our city streets, neither should anyone lose sight of the larger and deeper concerns about institutional racism that have ignited this rage.

As a white man, I cannot claim perfect understanding of the fear and anger that African Americans feel today. But as someone who has been around for a while, I know enough—and I’ve seen enough—to understand that those feelings are real and that they are all too painfully founded.

We must, as citizens, address head-on the issue of police brutality and sustained injustices against the African American community. We must, as citizens, support and defend the right—indeed, the solemn obligation—to peacefully assemble and to be heard. These are not mutually exclusive pursuits.

And neither of these pursuits will be made easier or safer by an overly aggressive use of our military, active duty or National Guard. The United States has a long and, to be fair, sometimes troubled history of using the armed forces to enforce domestic laws. The issue for us today is not whether this authority exists, but whether it will be wisely administered.I remain confident in the professionalism of our men and women in uniform. They will serve with skill and with compassion. They will obey lawful orders. But I am less confident in the soundness of the orders they will be given by this commander in chief, and I am not convinced that the conditions on our streets, as bad as they are, have risen to the level that justifies a heavy reliance on military troops. Certainly, we have not crossed the threshold that would make it appropriate to invoke the provisions of the Insurrection Act.

Furthermore, I am deeply worried that as they execute their orders, the members of our military will be co-opted for political purposes.

Even in the midst of the carnage we are witnessing, we must endeavor to see American cities and towns as our homes and our neighborhoods. They are not “battle spaces” to be dominated, and must never become so.

We must ensure that African Americans—indeed, all Americans—are given the same rights under the Constitution, the same justice under the law, and the same consideration we give to members of our own family. Our fellow citizens are not the enemy, and must never become so.

Too many foreign and domestic policy choices have become militarized; too many military missions have become politicized.

This is not the time for stunts. This is the time for leadership.

Antifa Logistics Proven By Pallets of Conveniently Pre-Positioned Bricks In Riot Areas

[Law Enforcement, why aren’t you tracing these bricks back to the firms which delivered them?]

ANTIFA’S AMERICAN INSURGENCY


The far-left has perfected the art of rioting

ED Noor: Antifa and BLM are Marxist sisters beneath the Soros blanket.

By:  Andy Ngo

Protesters riot in Seattle
May 31, 2020


We are witnessing glimmers of the full insurrection the far-left has been working toward for decades. The killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis was merely a pre-text for radicals to push their ambitious insurgency. In a matter of hours, after the video of Floyd began circulating the internet, militant antifa cells across the country mobilized to Minnesota to aid Black Lives Matter rioters. Law enforcement and even the state National Guard have struggled to respond in Minnesota.

 

Portland, Oakland, Los Angeles, Dallas and Atlanta are just some of the other cities waking up and finding smoldering ruins where businesses once operated. Nearly 30 other cities experienced some form of mass protest or violent rioting. At least three people have been killed so far.

Armed in Philadelphia and calling for more mayhem.
.

Antifa, the extreme anarchist-communist movement, has rioting down to an art. The first broken window is the blood in the water for looters to move in. When the looting is done, those carrying flammable chemicals start fires to finish the job. Footage recorded in Minneapolis and other cities show militants dressed in black bloc ~ the antifa uniform ~ wielding weapons like hammers or sticks to smash windows. You see their graffiti daubed on smashed up buildings: FTP means ‘Fuck the Police’; ACAB stands for ‘All Cops Are Bastards’; 1312 is the numerical code for ACAB.

People in riot-targeted areas found pallets of bricks stacked around their areas. No construction going on, just piles of bricks. Everywhere there were riots.

Last night, rioters reached the gates of the White House, possibly the most secure location on Earth. There, they chipped away at the barriers piece-by-piece while law enforcement struggled to respond. One Secret Service officer reportedly had a brick thrown at his head. Footage recorded at the scene showed him blood-soaked. Police were eventually able to repel masked rioters by using pepper spray and tear gas. That worked, for now.
.

The militants uprising across the country want a revolution and they don’t care who or what has to be destroyed in the process. If their comrades die, they are elevated as martyrs in propaganda. Death is celebrated.

At its core, BLM is a revolutionary Marxist ideology. Alicia Garza, Opal Tometi and

Patrisse Cullors, BLM’s founders, are self-identified Marxists who make no secret of their worship of communist terrorists and fugitives, like Assata Shakur. They want the abolishment of law enforcement and capitalism. They want regime change and the end of the rule of law. Antifa has partnered with Black Lives Matter, for now, to help accelerate the breakdown of society.

The US is getting a small preview of the anarchy antifa has been agitating, training and preparing for. Ending law enforcement is a pre-condition for antifa and BLM’s success in monopolizing violence. Those who are harmed first are the weak and vulnerable, the people who cannot protect themselves. Small business owners in Minnesota pleaded for mercy, even putting up signs and messages in support of the rioters, but to no avail.

ED Noor: Lest ye forget, boys and girls!

The destruction of businesses we’re witnessing across the US is not mere opportunism by looters. It plays a critical role in antifa and BLM ideology. Their stated goal is to abolish capitalism. To do that, they have to make economic recovery impossible. Antifa sees a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to exploit an economically weakened America during the coronavirus pandemic. It’s Going Down, one of the most popular antifa blogs in North America, tweeted on Friday:

’10 years from now, people won’t look back and ask: “Why did it explode in 2020?” Massive unemployment while the rich rake in billions from tax-cuts + bailouts, the earth on the brink of collapse + police murdering people daily. Instead they’ll ask: “Why didn’t it happen sooner?”‘

Antifa are taking actions considered extreme even among their own ranks. On Thursday night in Portland, rioters surrounded a vehicle filled with passengers and shot at it, hitting one person inside. The driver was able to escape but the injured passenger had to go to hospital for treatment. In Oakland, two federal police officers guarding a government building were shot in an ambush drive-by. One was killed and the other has critical injuries. The following day in Seattle, masked antifa militants stole a rifle from a police vehicle before setting it ablaze.

Media, politicians, the public ~ all of us ~ have underestimated the training and capability of left-wing extremists, who are united in purpose. All the parts of rioting serve a purpose. Looting and fires destroy local economies. Riots can overwhelm the police and even the military. All of this leads to a destabilized state.

America is brave and beautiful.  She is not invincible.



I thought they hated “notsees”!

Posted by 

All 5 Iranian Tankers Deliver Their Cargo To Venezuela, Despite State Dept. Claims

[American mainstream media misinforms American people about State Dept. disrupting Iranian oil shipments to Venezuela.  (SEE: US disrupts Iranian fuel deliveries to Venezuela, official says )]

[All 5 Iranian Tankers Deliver their cargo to Venezuela. One Iranian Tanker In Venezuelan Waters, While 4 More Watch From African Coast ]

by 

Earlier, two American media outlets reported that several tankers carrying Iranian fuel to Venezuela were forced to turn around as Washington placed pressure on the ships’ owners.

The last Iranian tanker carrying fuel and components for its production has docked at a Venezuelan port after entering the country’s waters on 31 May. The vessel called Clavel arrived just three days after the previous tanker, Faxon, brought its much-needed cargo to the Latin American state.

Three other tankers, Fortune, Forest, and Petunia arrived earlier, with Forest having already unloaded its shipment of fuel, which was urgently needed in Venezuela, and left for an unknown destination. The shipping of the fuel to the country thus successfully concluded despite reported attempts of the US to thwart the transaction between Caracas and Tehran, both of which suffer from American sanctions.

Workers of the state-oil company Pdvsa holding Iranian and Venezuelan flags greet during the arrival of the Iranian tanker ship Fortune at El Palito refinery in Puerto Cabello, Venezuela May 25, 2020
© REUTERS / MIRAFLORES PALACE/HANDOUT
Workers of the state-oil company Pdvsa holding Iranian and Venezuelan flags greet during the arrival of the Iranian tanker ship “Fortune” at El Palito refinery in Puerto Cabello, Venezuela May 25, 2020

Last week, The Wall Street Journal and Fox News reported that Washington had pressured the Greek owners of two tankers, purportedly carrying Iranian oil towards Venezuela, to turn their vessels around under threat of sanctions.

The tankers,
Bering  marinetraffic.com


and Bella, reportedly followed the order.

Venezuela has been experiencing harsh fuel shortages lately despite possessing among the biggest oil reserves in the world. The crude extracted in the country is extremely heavy and requires sophisticated equipment to refine it into fuel. Caracas mostly lost access to such equipment after Washington imposed sanctions against the country’s oil industry in an attempt to topple its elected President Nicolas Maduro – an endeavour which the US has failed to carry out, despite making several attempts.

Iran pledged to help its Latin American partner, condemning American attempts to “destroy” the Venezuelan economy. The US Special Representative for Venezuela, in turn, slammed the two countries’ cooperation, claiming that Maduro is using Venezuelan gold reserves to pay Iran back.

This Is Not a Revolution.

This Is Not a Revolution. It’s a Blueprint for Locking Down the Nation

by JOHN W. WHITEHEAD, The Rutherford Institute
John Whitehead

“When it gets down to having to use violence, then you are playing the system’s game. The establishment will irritate you—pull your beard, flick your face—to make you fight. Because once they’ve got you violent, then they know how to handle you.”—John Lennon

Brace yourselves.

There is something being concocted in the dens of power, far beyond the public eye, and it doesn’t bode well for the future of this country.

Anytime you have an entire nation so mesmerized by political theater and public spectacle that they are oblivious to all else, you’d better beware.

Anytime you have a government that operates in the shadows, speaks in a language of force, and rules by fiat, you’d better beware.

And anytime you have a government so far removed from its people as to ensure that they are never seen, heard or heeded by those elected to represent them, you’d better beware.

What is unfolding before us is not a revolution.

The looting, the burning, the rioting, the violence: this is an anti-revolution.

The protesters are playing right into the government’s hands, because the powers-that-be want this. They want an excuse to lockdown the nation and throw the switch to all-out martial law. They want a reason to make the police state stronger.

It’s happening faster than we can keep up.

The Justice Department is deploying federal prison riot teams to various cities. More than half of the nation’s governors are calling on the National Guard to quell civil unrest. Growing numbers of cities, having just barely emerged from a coronavirus lockdown, are once again being locked down, this time in response to the growing upheaval.

This is how it begins.

It’s that dystopian 2030 Pentagon training video all over again, which anticipates the need for the government to institute martial law (use armed forces to solve domestic political and social problems) in order to navigate a world bedeviled by “criminal networks,” “substandard infrastructure,” “religious and ethnic tensions,” “impoverishment, slums,” “open landfills, over-burdened sewers,” a “growing mass of unemployed,” and an urban landscape in which the prosperous economic elite must be protected from the impoverishment of the have nots.

We’re way ahead of schedule.

The architects of the police state have us exactly where they want us: under their stamping boot, gasping for breath, desperate for freedom, grappling for some semblance of a future that does not resemble the totalitarian prison being erected around us.

This way lies certain tyranny.

For just one fleeting moment, “we the people” seemed united in our outrage over this latest killing of an unarmed man by a cop hyped up on his own authority and the power of his uniform.

That unity didn’t last.

Indeed, it didn’t take long—no surprise there—for us to quickly become divided again, polarized by the misguided fury and senseless violence of mobs taking to the streets, reeking of madness and mayhem.

Deliberately or not, the rioters have directed our attention away from the government’s crimes and onto their own.

This is a distraction.

Don’t allow yourself to be so distracted.

Let’s not lose sight of what started all of this in the first place: the U.S. government.

More than terrorism, more than domestic extremism, more than gun violence and organized crime, the systemic violence being perpetrated by agents of the government constitutes a greater menace to the life, liberty and property of its citizens than any of the so-called dangers from which the government claims to protect us.

Case in point: George Floyd died at the hands of the American police state.

The callous, cold-blooded murder of the unarmed, 46-year-old black man by police is nothing new: for 8 minutes and 46 seconds, police knelt on Floyd’s neck while the man pleaded for his life, struggled to breathe, cried out for his dead mother, and finally passed out and died.

Floyd is yet another victim of a broken system of policing that has placed “we the people” at the mercy of militarized cops who have almost absolute discretion to decide who is a threat, what constitutes resistance, and how harshly they can deal with the citizens they were appointed to “serve and protect.”

Daily, Americans are being shot, stripped, searched, choked, beaten and tasered by police for little more than daring to frown, smile, question, challenge an order or just exist.

I’m talking about the growing numbers of unarmed people are who being shot and killed for just standing a certain way, or moving a certain way, or holding something—anything—that police could misinterpret to be a gun, or igniting some trigger-centric fear in a police officer’s mind that has nothing to do with an actual threat to their safety.

Killed by police for standing in a “shooting stance.” Killed for holding a cell phone. Killed for holding a baseball bat. Killed for opening the front door. Killed for being a child in a car pursued by police. Killed for approaching police while holding a metal spoon. Killed for running in an aggressive manner while holding a tree branch. Killed for crawling around naked. Killed for hunching over in a defensive posture. Killed because a police officer accidentally fired his gun instead of his taser. Killed for wearing dark pants and a basketball jersey. Killed for reaching for his license and registration during a traffic stop. Killed for driving while deaf. Killed for being homeless. Killed for brandishing a shoehorn. Killed for peeing outdoors. Killed for having his car break down on the road. Killed for holding a garden hose.

Now you can make all kinds of excuses to justify these shootings, and in fact that’s exactly what you’ll hear from politicians, police unions, law enforcement officials and individuals who are more than happy to march in lockstep with the police. However, as these incidents make clear, the only truly compliant, submissive and obedient citizen in a police state is a dead one.

Sad, isn’t it, how quickly we have gone from a nation of laws—where the least among us had just as much right to be treated with dignity and respect as the next person (in principle, at least)—to a nation of law enforcers (revenue collectors with weapons) who treat us all like suspects and criminals?

This is not how you keep the peace.

This is not justice. This is not even law and order.

This is certainly not freedom. This is the illusion of freedom.

Unfortunately, we are now being ruled by a government of psychopaths, scoundrels, spies, thugs, thieves, gangsters, ruffians, rapists, extortionists, bounty hunters, battle-ready warriors and cold-blooded killers who communicate using a language of force and oppression.

The facts speak for themselves.

We’re being ravaged by a government of ruffians, rapists and killers. It’s not just the police shootings of unarmed citizens that are worrisome. It’s the SWAT team raids gone wrong that are leaving innocent citizens wounded, children terrorized and family pets killed. It’s the roadside strip searches—in some cases, cavity searches of men and women alike carried out in full view of the public—in pursuit of drugs that are never found. It’s the potentially lethal—and unwarranted—use of so-called “nonlethal” weapons such as tasers on children for “mouthing off to a police officer. For trying to run from the principal’s office. For, at the age of 12, getting into a fight with another girl.”

We’re being held at gunpoint by a government of soldiers—a standing army. While Americans are being made to jump through an increasing number of hoops in order to exercise their Second Amendment right to own a gun, the government is arming its own civilian employees to the hilt with guns, ammunition and military-style equipment, authorizing them to make arrests, and training them in military tactics. Among the agencies being supplied with night-vision equipment, body armor, hollow-point bullets, shotguns, drones, assault rifles and LP gas cannons are the Smithsonian, U.S. Mint, Health and Human Services, IRS, FDA, Small Business Administration, Social Security Administration, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Education Department, Energy Department, Bureau of Engraving and Printing and an assortment of public universities. There are now reportedly more bureaucratic (non-military) government civilians armed with high-tech, deadly weapons than U.S. Marines. That doesn’t even begin to touch on the government’s arsenal, the transformation of local police into extensions of the military, and the speed with which the nation could be locked down under martial law depending on the circumstances. Clearly, the government is preparing for war—and a civil war, at that—and “we the people” are the perceived enemy.

We’re being taken advantage of by a government of scoundrels, idiots and cowards. American satirist H.L. Mencken calculated that “Congress consists of one-third, more or less, scoundrels; two-thirds, more or less, idiots; and three-thirds, more or less, poltroons.” By and large, Americans seem to agree. When you’ve got government representatives who spend a large chunk of their work hours fundraising, being feted by lobbyists, shuffling through a lucrative revolving door between public service and lobbying, and making themselves available to anyone with enough money to secure access to a congressional office, you’re in the clutches of a corrupt oligarchy. Mind you, these same elected officials rarely read the legislation they’re enacting, nor do they seem capable of enacting much legislation that actually helps rather than hinders the plight of the American citizen.

We’re being locked up by a government of greedy jailers. We have become a carceral state, spending three times more on our prisons than on our schools and imprisoning close to a quarter of the world’s prisoners, despite the fact that crime is at an all-time low and the U.S. makes up only 5% of the world’s population. The rise of overcriminalization and profit-driven private prisons provides even greater incentives for locking up American citizens for such non-violent “crimes” as having an overgrown lawn.  As the Boston Review points out, “America’s contemporary system of policing, courts, imprisonment, and parole … makes money through asset forfeiture, lucrative public contracts from private service providers, and by directly extracting revenue and unpaid labor from populations of color and the poor. In states and municipalities throughout the country, the criminal justice system defrays costs by forcing prisoners and their families to pay for punishment. It also allows private service providers to charge outrageous fees for everyday needs such as telephone calls. As a result people facing even minor criminal charges can easily find themselves trapped in a self-perpetuating cycle of debt, criminalization, and incarceration.”

We’re being spied on by a government of Peeping Toms. The government, aided by its corporate allies, is watching everything you do, reading everything you write, listening to everything you say, and monitoring everything you spend. Omnipresent surveillance is paving the way for government programs that profile citizens, document their behavior and attempt to predict what they might do in the future, whether it’s what they might buy, what politician they might support, or what kinds of crimes they might commit. The impact of this far-reaching surveillance, according to Psychology Today, is “reduced trust, increased conformity, and even diminished civic participation.” As technology analyst Jillian C. York concludes, “Mass surveillance without due process—whether undertaken by the government of Bahrain, Russia, the US, or anywhere in between—threatens to stifle and smother that dissent, leaving in its wake a populace cowed by fear.”

We’re being forced to surrender our freedoms—and those of our children—to a government of extortionists, money launderers and professional pirates. The American people have been repeatedly sold a bill of goods about how the government needs more money, more expansive powers, and more secrecy (secret courts, secret budgets, secret military campaigns, secret surveillance) in order to keep us safe. Under the guise of fighting its wars on terror, drugs, domestic extremism, pandemics and civil unrest, the government has spent billions in taxpayer dollars on endless wars that have sown the seeds of blowback, surveillance programs that have subjected all Americans to a surveillance society, and militarized police that have turned communities into warzones.

We’re being robbed blind by a government of thieves. Americans no longer have any real protection against government agents empowered to seize private property at will. For instance, police agencies under the guise of asset forfeiture laws are taking property based on little more than a suspicion of criminal activity.

And we’re being forced to live in a perpetual state of emergency. From 9/11 through the COVID-19 lockdowns and now the threat of martial law in the face of growing civil unrest, we have witnessed the rise of an “emergency state” that justifies all manner of government tyranny and power grabs in the so-called name of national security.

Whatever else it may be—a danger, a menace, a threat—the U.S. government is certainly not looking out for our best interests, nor is it in any way a friend to freedom.

When the government views itself as superior to the citizenry, when it no longer operates for the benefit of the people, when the people are no longer able to peacefully reform their government, when government officials cease to act like public servants, when elected officials no longer represent the will of the people, when the government routinely violates the rights of the people and perpetrates more violence against the citizenry than the criminal class, when government spending is unaccountable and unaccounted for, when the judiciary act as courts of order rather than justice, and when the government is no longer bound by the laws of the Constitution, then you no longer have a government “of the people, by the people and for the people.”

What we have is a government of wolves.

Our backs are against the proverbial wall.

The government and its cohorts have conspired to ensure that the only real recourse the American people have to express their displeasure with the government is through voting, which is no real recourse at all.

The penalties for civil disobedience, whistleblowing and rebellion are severe. If you refuse to pay taxes for government programs you believe to be immoral or illegal, you will go to jail. If you attempt to overthrow the government—or any agency thereof—because you believe it has overstepped its reach, you will go to jail. If you attempt to blow the whistle on government misconduct, there’s a pretty good chance you will go to jail.

For too long, the American people have obeyed the government’s dictates, no matter now extreme. We have paid its taxes, penalties and fines, no matter how outrageous. We have tolerated its indignities, insults and abuses, no matter how egregious. We have turned a blind eye to its indiscretions and incompetence, no matter how imprudent. We have held our silence in the face of its lawlessness, licentiousness and corruption, no matter how illicit.

We have suffered.

How long we will continue to suffer depends on how much we’re willing to give up for the sake of freedom.

America’s founders provided us with a very specific explanation about the purpose of government and a roadmap for what to do when the government abuses its authority, ignores our objections, and establishes itself as a tyrant.

We must choose between peaceful slavery (in other words, maintaining the status quo in servitude to the police state) and dangerous freedom. That will mean carving out a path in which we begin to take ownership of our government, starting at the local level, challenging the status quo, and raising hell—nonviolently—whenever a government official steps out of line.

We can no longer maintain the illusion of freedom.

As I make clear in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People, we are at our most vulnerable right now.

ABOUT JOHN W. WHITEHEAD

Constitutional attorney and author John W. Whitehead is founder and president of The Rutherford Institute. His new book Battlefield America: The War on the American People  is available at www.amazon.com. Whitehead can be contacted at johnw@rutherford.org.

Read more: The Gilmer Mirror – This Is Not a Revolution It s a Blueprint for Locking Down the Nation

Former UK Vodaphone Executive Revealed As Fraud “5G Expert”

[Many thanks to “auribusarrectis” for this gem.  Had to go to Tor browser to copy this one, Guardian had copy-block on article.]

Revealed: ‘former Vodafone executive’ in 5G conspiracy video is UK pastor

This article is more than 1 month old

Jonathon James is previously unidentified individual who reached millions with false claims about Covid-19

Jonathon James
Jonathon James. Vodafone sources say he was hired for a sales position in 2014 and left after a year. Photograph: YouTube

A recording spread around the world at the end of March, purportedly featuring a former Vodafone executive claiming to let the public in on a secret that the coronavirus pandemic is cover for a global plot to install 5G mobile phone masts, track the world’s population through vaccines, and then destroy human society as we know it.

In reality, the Guardian can reveal, the voice on the tape making the baseless claims is an evangelical pastor from Luton who recently tried to convince Zimbabweans to use cryptocurrency in their economy.

Jonathon James, who regularly preached at churches in Bedfordshire, is the previously unidentified individual who reached millions of people with his detailed but nonsense claims that Covid-19 is a fake disease covering for the impact of 5G.

“It has nothing to do with biological warfare but is our bodies reacting to radiofrequency radiation,” he told listeners to the 38-minute recording, claiming the real cause of global deaths was new mobile technology causing cell poisoning. “They are using coronavirus to try to hide the fact that people are dying from the 5G frequency.”

Although James was not the first individual to attempt to connect the pandemic and 5G, the popularity of his recording grew at the end of last month, just as people believing the conspiracy theory began to burn down phone equipment and harass telecoms engineers.

In the recording he suggests that Bill Gates is involved in a plot to produce coronavirus vaccinations that will contain computer chips to track individuals, a move he claims will ultimately herald the destruction of society.

“The coronavirus is not what’s killing people, it is clearly, categorically, unequivocally proven that the radio frequencies we are being exposed to are killing the people,” he told his audience without any evidence. “God has blessed me with the ability to bring disparate pieces of information together that puts the puzzle together and makes sense of it.”

Although many copies of the recording have been deleted by YouTube for breaching its policy on dangerous disinformation, new uploads continue to be available. Delivered in the form of a sermon, it has also racked up millions of views across other networks and continues to circulate on WhatsApp. But until now the originator’s identity has been unknown.

Much of the audio clip’s claims to credibility rely on James’s assertion that he is the former head of the largest business unit at Vodafone, supposedly giving him the inside track on new technologies at one of the world’s biggest telecoms companies.

Vodafone insiders told the Guardian that while James had worked for the company, he was hired for a sales position in 2014 at a time when 5G was not a priority for the company and was unlikely to be in his remit. They said he ultimately left Vodafone after less than a year.

International radiation watchdogs have cleared 5G as safe, while NHS bosses have called on people to stop spreading rumours linking the pandemic to 5G and threatening vital infrastructure.

James’s identity was ultimately pieced together by researchers at the fact-checking startup Logically, working in conjunction with the Guardian. When the preacher was contacted he said he “was absolutely shocked that [a] somewhat ‘private message’ to a dedicated small community went viral and [was] ubiquitously covered [on] various social media platforms”.

The preacher, whose WhatsApp profile picture shows him relaxing on a private jet wearing a monogrammed shirt, said: “For the record, I certainly wasn’t trying to vilify, incriminate or implicate any mobile network operator for their commercial endeavours to roll out their unified telecoms and next generation of mobile topologies in this regard.

“Had I known my voice note would have gone to a wider audience I certainly would have contextualised my thoughts, been more specific on what I was sharing citing references, and far less explicit. I was simply trying to summarise what the ‘perceived truth’ was behind this bizarre pandemic in the interest of serving my community.”

James, who regularly preaches at the Light City Christian Ministries in Luton, has apparently had a varied career since his time at Vodafone. He claims to have at one point advised central bankers in “the Congo” and Bangladesh on cryptocurrencies and he has posed with the South African president, Cyril Ramaphosa. In 2018 he was working as an economic adviser for a Zimbabwean opposition party, urging it to save the economy using Bitcoin-type products pegged to diamond deposits through blockchain technology.

Asked if he had any final comment, James said he was unable to reply as he “had some rather pressing head of state engagement necessitating my full attention and time [for the] last 48 hours”.

Louisville police chief fired after officer bodycams found to be off during fatal shooting

Louisville police chief fired after officer bodycams found to be off during fatal shooting

The two officers involved, who were either not wearing or did not have their cameras activated, have been placed on administrative leave.

By Doha Madani

Louisville Metro Police Chief Steve Conrad has been relieved of duty after it was revealed that the officers involved in a shooting that killed a local business owner early Monday did not activate their body cameras.

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer announced the decision to relieve Conrad during a Monday afternoon press conference, where the deceased was identified as David McAtee. Conrad was set to retire later this month.

“David was a friend to many, a well known barbecue man that nurtured so many people in their bellies and their hearts before,” Fischer said of the victim. “And for him to be caught up in this, for him to not be here with us is a tragedy. It’s just hard to put into words.”

The two officers involved, who were either not wearing or did not have their cameras activated, have been placed on administrative leaveIt’s unclear whether the fatal shot was fired by law enforcement or a separate individual, active Chief Rob Schroeder said Monday.

“We are working diligently to determine what happened, the community has a lot of questions and we share those same questions,” Schroeder said.

Other audio and video from the incident will be released, officials said.

Louisville officers and the National Guard were sent to a parking lot to break up a crowd at around around 12:15 a.m., according to a statement Conrad gave earlier Monday. He said officers were “shot at” at some point while trying to clear the area and returned fire, leaving one person dead.

Image: Protests in Louisville following the death of Breonna Taylor
Security Police Officers with the Air National Guard stand with Louisville Metro Police officers during a protest in Louisville, Kentucky, on May 31, 2020.Bryan Woolston / Reuters

In a statement Monday morning, Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear said “LMPD and the Kentucky National Guard returned fire resulting in death” and said he has asked the Kentucky State Police to independently investigate the shooting.

Officers were required to wear active body cameras following the death of Breonna Taylor, 26, a black woman killed in her home in March by Louisville police while they served a “no-knock” warrant against the couple in an alleged drug case. Taylor’s family claimed in a wrongful death lawsuit that Taylor and her boyfriend believed their home was being broken into and shot at officers because they did not identify themselves.

Taylor’s death has been a catalyst for protests in Louisville, demonstrations that over the weekend were reignited by the death of George Floyd, the Minneapolis man who died last week after a police officer kept a knee on his neck for over eight minutes.

More than 40 people were arrested Sunday night, the city’s fourth consecutive night of demonstrations, according to NBC Louisville affiliate WAVE.

Last Thursday, seven people were shot in the city during protests that turned violent. Officers were not involved in the Thursday shootings, Police Sgt. Lamont Washington said at the time.

Kaitlin Rust, a reporter for WAVE, was on air Friday when she yelled and said she was “getting shot” by rubber bullets or pepper bullets.

This is a developing story, please check back for updates.

One dead in Louisville after police and National Guard ‘return fire’–First Volley In New Civil War?

One dead in Louisville after police and National Guard ‘return fire’ on crowd

Louisville authorities did not specify who fired the fatal shot, and authorities have not released information about the victim

Image: The Army National Guard and Louisville Metro Police block a street during a protest in Kentucky on May 31, 2020.

The Army National Guard and Louisville Metro Police block a street during a protest in Kentucky on May 31, 2020.Bryan Woolston / Reuters

By Ben Kesslen

A man was shot dead in Louisville after police officers and the Kentucky National Guard “returned fire” while clearing a large crowd early Monday.

Louisville Metro Police Chief Steve Conrad said in a statement that at around 12:15 a.m. his officers and the National Guard were sent to a parking lot to break up a crowd.

“Officers and soldiers began to clear the lot and at some point were shot at,” Conrad said in a statement. “Both LMPD and National Guard members returned fire, we have one man dead at scene”

In a statement Monday morning, Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear said “LMPD and the Kentucky National Guard returned fire resulting in death” and said he has asked the Kentucky State Police to independently investigate the shooting. The governor’s office did not immediately return NBC News’ request for further clarification on who fired the fatal shot.

Louisville police say they are interviewing “several persons of interests” and collecting video. The city was under a “dusk to dawn” curfew on Sunday night into Monday, beginning at 9 p.m.

Louisville has seen a weekend of protests, as the city mourns Breonna Taylor, 26, a black woman killed in her home in March by Louisville police who were executing a “no-knock” warrant targeting her former boyfriend. More than 40 people were arrested Sunday night, the city’s fourth consecutive night of demonstrations, according to NBC Louisville affiliate WAVE.

Last Thursday, seven people were shot in the city during protests that turned violent. Officers were not involved in the Thursday shootings, Police Sgt. Lamont Washington said at the time.

Kaitlin Rust, a reporter for WAVE, was on air on Friday when she yelled and said she was “getting shot” by rubber bullets or pepper bullets.

As The World Burns

[This should be the focus of all protests and resistance against the fleecing of America by the very wealthiest minority.  Distractions from this vital national focus, such as mixing-up protests against the police state with anti-vax protests or any-other-anti-protest, shatter that single-minded focus, risking the entire effort.  Make this clear…IT IS THE POLICE STATE that is killing black folks, and NOT JUST INDIVIDUAL COP RACISTS. 
The timely piece below identifies this problem and highlights some of the difficulties we will inflict upon ourselves in the near future, as the protests/resistance grow larger with each new wave of America’s dispossessed, growing homeless, unemployed, the starving and the just plain pissed-off.  What we see taking place today in America’s cities is likely to spread to rural areas in the near future, especially when the money and the stimulus checks run out and starving becomes a personal issue.  When the rioting and the looting become overwhelming, we will see an American civil war for survival, UNLESS national leaders act now, to avoid this coming nightmare.–Peter]

As The World Burns

Personal safety & security are quickly becoming more important in this era of growing social rage
by Chris Martenson

Friday, May 29, 2020, 6:35 PM

Decades of unfairness are now boiling over in the United States in the form of protests, riots, burning buildings and violence.

Minneapolis is on fire – literally – and the unrest has spread to numerous other major cities.

Last year (2019) The Yellow Vest protesters in France dealt with enormous amount of police violence and intimidation as they put life and limb on the line to try and wrest better economic and living conditions for themselves.

The people of Hong Kong are back out in force again now that the Coronavirus threat has abated, seeking greater autonomy and control over their own lives. Last year (2019) Chileans also protested, seeking better wages and living conditions.

While the specific demands of each of these movements are unique, they all share common causes.

Our analysis at Peak Prosperity is this: the days of constant exponential growth on a finite planet are drawing to a close. All of the systems that govern the sharing of resources among humans – political, economic and especially financial – are designed to concentrate, not share, wealth.

Taken together, we have an economic pie that is no longer growing but is subject to a set of laws and financial predation that guarantee the wealthy get more than their fair share of what remains.

This leads to increasingly visible, palpable unfairness.

Primates hate that:

In today’s world, it’s grapes for the elites and cucumbers for the rest of us (if we’re even that lucky).

That’s been the model for a long time, but lately it’s been both accelerating and exposed for all to see.

Team Elite™ is busy gorging on grapes. It has granted itself $trillions of freshly printed dollars from the US Federal Reserve in order to prop up ‘their fair share of things’ like bonds, stocks, and derivatives.

That leads to these sorts of jarring headline juxtapositions:

(Source and source)

Without any question whatsoever, the Federal Reserve has been printing up money like crazy and stuffing it into every crevice of the US financial markets in a bid to…well, drive up financial asset prices.

They’ve been extremely tone deaf the entire way while pretending that their aim isn’t to make the rich richer, or deliver fatter profits to banks. Of course, both of those things are indeed happening as a direct result of the Fed’s policies and anybody with eyes can see that — yet the media refuses to acknowledge this.

Really, it’s extremely easy to identify. Here’s what ‘grapes for the wealthy!’ looks like — see that $3 trillion spike since April?

All of that printing leads to some stocks now being at their priciest ratio to earnings ever:

That means that those holding them are being rewarded like never before. And don’t forget that the richest 10% of Americans own over 84% of all stocks

We also see the same price-goosing with bonds. Corporate bonds are now once again approaching historically low yields which means, in the see-saw language of bonds, they are almost as pricey as they’ve ever been. In history:

Who received the benefits of that gigantic cluster of grapes that the Fed has lavished upon the bond markets?

Well, the owners of all those bonds of course, and the major corporations now able to borrow at rock bottom costs even as small and medium sized enterprises are being wiped out.

As I often say, the Fed doesn’t actually create wealth, it redistributes wealth.  While doing that it is both directly and indirectly picking winners and losers.

The above chart of corporate bond yields says the Fed is picking large corporations and the wealthy elite  over small companies and Main Street folks.

Of course, there are no grapes quite as sweet as the ‘special interest’ varietals that are served to only the wealthiest of real estate investors:

The only thing that could make this worse would be for some White House official to condescendingly insult all us regular people by referring to us in non-human terms.

Oops:

(Source)

I have dozens more such examples. But I trust you get the point: the vast unfairness of the US system is now exposed for all to see. And that inequity has become even more predatory in our hour of need during the Covid-19 pandemic. Which is why social frustration and angst are now in the process of boiling over.

The reason why is as old as civilization itself, showing up ever since the first group of humans organized themselves into a cultural pyramid:

People often ask me why I shake my angry monkey-fist at the Federal Reserve so often. It’s because of the above quote. I’m the sort that prefers to avoid unnecessary pain and suffering. The Federal Reserve seems to be institutionally ignorant of the above fatal ailment.

What the Fed is doing is wholly unnecessary and manifestly unfair. It will lead to tears yet, regrettably, it is completely avoidable. Grapes for Wall Street, and cucumbers (or worse) for everyone else. It’s just how they’re wired. They literally cannot help themselves,. So things are certain to get worse before they get better.

It All Boils Over

The institutional failures of the Federal Reserve aside, there are also the obvious failures of management (I can’t bring myself to call them ‘leadership’ anymore) at our major health institutions, politicians who are far quicker to the rescue of major corporations than constituents, politicized and even falsified ‘science’ coming from formerly respected institutions, the list goes on and on.

Every one of these breaches of public trust undermines our collective safety and security. Beyond some incalculable level the foundation gives way.

The lowest level of management in this story are the police. For decades many police departments have been heavily militarized and trained often by Israelis who’ve done a remarkable job embedding the mindset of occupying forces into US policing.

Toss in some unresolved racial biases and animosity, civil asset forfeiture, no-knock raids for petty reasons that routinely result in innocent lives being violently taken, and you’ve got a tinder pile waiting for a spark.

George Floyd was that spark. A particularly callous officer with a long string of unpunished claims of excessive force and violence lodged against him, knelt on George’s neck until he was dead while 3 other officers stood by and casually watched.  Against the backdrop outlined above, this was one flagrant abuse too many.

Editorially, the person now being vetted as a possible VP for the Biden campaign, Amy Klobuchar was the prosecutor in Minneapolis for many years who could have delivered justice to the lower classes. Let’s check her record:

Sadly, this is a record that can be found in hundreds of other cities. It’s neither an uncommon nor a defensible record. As a reminder, in the aftermath of the Michael Brown killing and riots in Ferguson MO (2014) the justice department came in and discovered that in a city of 20,000 mostly poor people there were 16,000 outstanding arrest warrants.  Think about that for a second.

Many for infractions like ‘impeding pedestrian flow’ (a.k.a. standing on the sidewalk). The humans were little more that ATM livestock for the police and court machinery to exploit.

And so, with the killing of George Floyd, Minneapolis exploded.

There’s More Unrest On The Way. Get Prepared.

Welcome everyone to these turbulent times.

We all want to live in a just, fair, and safe world. Some people are born into peaceful times. Others aren’t so lucky. History goes through its turnings.

Well, here we are, smack in the middle of a whopper of a fourth turning. So let’s make the most of it.

I take the safety and security of myself and the people around me very seriously. Because it’s my responsibility I train, and I plan, and I think things through.

My home is in a town I judge to be very safe, and I’m not the fearful sort, so I really have to push myself to prioritize the other steps. Which I am doing because it has to be done.

The calm days are over. There’s a new future coming, one that promises to be a lot more interesting as the old Chinese saying goes.

I wish I believed that the worst of the social unrest was behind us. I don’t. Given the actions of the Fed and Plutarch’s quote, and the total lack of any pushback from the media on these matters, I am anticipating grapes for the elites and worse-than-cucumbers for everyone else for many years to come.

Which means it’s time for you to more seriously consider your approach to personal security, especially if you live in or near a city. I certainly am.

As a true mark of the turning, a growing number of my friends who would never have considered owning a gun before are now thinking about doing so. All sorts of formerly ‘hard’ decisions suddenly become up for grabs when folks start feeling more physically vulnerable.

But personal security is far more than ‘owning a gun.’ It’s a mindset as well as a behavior set. And above all, it’s about avoiding trouble in the first place.

It includes taking sensible steps to protect your home from being an easy target for crime. It means having a plan and well-practiced skills in place to keep yourself and your loved ones safe from violence. It means aligning with neighbors to watch each others’ backs. It means practicing with whatever tools or systems you adopt so that they are second nature to you if you ever have to use them.

For those without extensive experience and training (which I assume is just about everyone reading this), the best presentation I’ve ever seen covering the practical essentials you need to know to maximize your odds of staying safe is this video from Peak Prosperity member Tom C., a 19-year veteran inner city police sergeant, given at our most recent annual seminar:

Here’s a brief 3-minute clip from it in which Tom is fielding Q&A on the audience’s top concerns:

Tom’s full seminar presentation is 48 minutes long and addresses key safety & security issues including how to reduce your threat risk profile, situational awareness, what to do (both mindset and actions) if in danger, how to create “layers” of defenses, as well as good home security options. Peak Prosperity’s premium members can watch it in full here.

Rage Against the (Wrong) Machine

slope of hope

From the Slope of Hope:

On the printout of people qualified to discuss urban violence, I’m pretty far down the list. My encounters with the police have all been negative, but that’s the nature of the beast. No officer is going to stop me and tell me I have fabulous hair (OK, that happened just once, but it’s uncommon). They’re just going to give me a ticket for not coming to a full stop. They’re enforcers.

In fact, my most negative police encounter was at my own home. An officer showed up, very soon after I moved into my house, and said my dog wasn’t licensed by the city. My dog (a half chow, half golden named Chelsea, a painting of whom hangs in my office) started barking at this intruder, and the officer drew his gun and pointed it at Chelsea, screaming how I have to get my dog under control.

After finding out the unlicensed dog in question was actually the dog of the guy who used to live there, not me, I was supremely pissed, so I called the police to tell what had happened. Shortly thereafter, a sergeant brought the officer to my front door and, hanging his head, he apologized for his behavior.

So that’s about as close as I’ve come to a bad police encounter.

What’s happening across the country right now is a few orders of magnitude different. I see that there are plans for riots (oh, sorry, “protests“) in 50 different U.S. cities on Saturday night.

This is a perfect recipe for such chaos. You’ve got an unemployed population who has been under house arrest for months, with the widest wealth divide in history, and an environment of racism and violence. I’m surprised this kind of thing doesn’t happen non-stop, even without anyone being killed by having their neck squished.

I was particularly struck by this image below, which is sort of an upside-down version of Kristallnacht, 82 years later.

You’ve got to feel for the poor souls whose job it is to attract conventions and tourists to this place. Their website is unintentionally drenched with irony these days.

And here’s Exhibit B:

Of course, this isn’t confined to Minneapolis. Perhaps you’ve heard that, for whatever reason, someone thought it would be a good idea to dress up a bunch of little kids in military garb, hand them weapons, and send them off to counter-protests in Georgia. (This will clear up any confusion as to why “Hitler Youth” was a top trending term on Twitter today).

The billionaires couldn’t be happier. The highest echelons in this country have two gargantuan advantages working in their favor:

  1. A nonstop circus of distractions, so that no one has a chance to see how, over the past 50 years, they have absolutely taken over everything, and they’re going to wind up with everything, absolutely everything, for themselves;
  2. They’ve got a bureaucratic whore by the name of Jerome Powell who is absolutely thrilled to be stealing trillions of dollars from future generations to create the most overvalued stock market in human history during one of the most economic periods the country has ever witnessed. Honest to God, people. Wake up.

Since I’m watching from a safe distance, I don’t have a problem with all the mayhem, although I think it’s misdirected. These angry hordes are destroying their local Target store (where are you going to get your Charmin now, pal?) instead of, oh, let’s just say, the Federal Reserve located right in downtown Minneapolis:

Although some of these rioters are starting to wise up, such as this chap from the Los Angeles chaos:

So, to be quite honest, I’d much rather see them emptying the Louis Vuitton store (as they did a few hours ago) than Target, for God’s sake. Or, even worse, destroying a police precinct.

The shame of it is that these people have every right to be boiling mad, but stealing underwear from Target or setting fire to a local bar isn’t going to do a goddamned thing. If these people had a clue – – even a clue – – about what the likes of Ben Bernanke, Janet Yellen, Lloyd Blankfein, Steve Mnuchin, and Larry Fink had done to them, they would be dragging THEM by their necks down the street and beating them with clubs. Not wrecking the local grocery store. They could even put the Mnuchin Beating on pay-per-view. I’ve got my credit card ready.

But these people have no clue. Zero. They couldn’t tell you what the Federal Reserve does. Or what fractional banking is. Or who Larry Fink is. Those $1200 checks were enough to keep the sheep in line, although that money has long been spent. The powers that be are going to have to keep throwing free cash at people to keep them shut up and feeble. As of now, the gravy train ends on July 31st.

We’re getting a sneak preview of this autumn, as these tweets strongly confirm:

The most vicious dogs. The most ominous weapons. Just waiting for action. Anyone else get the feeling he’s really getting off on the prospect of violence? I sure do. Thus, can you imagine what he’s going to be tweeting if he loses? Or, better yet, what if we get a second wave of Covid PLUS civil war, created by angry tweets?

But there’s one man who has declared himself innocent, and it’s this son of a bitch:

We live in a time which is nothing less than appalling. Lies. Cheating. Stealing. Deception. Theft. All for the benefit of the richest. Every bit of it. And these ignorant lunatics shrieking and smashing glass are destroying the businesses that serve their “community” while leaving the billionaires alone, laughing their asses off. Jeff Bezos has never had it so good.

The human race has a long history. This is not the end of time. The age of revenge is only just beginning, and we all have a responsibility to our families to try our best to keep them safe.

The storm brewing out there is no anomaly. What we are witnessing this very weekend is, I believe, just an appetizer in an all-you-can-eat buffet of pandemonium on its way. Powell and his completely fake stock market won’t change that.

You can’t stop what’s coming. That’s vanity.

My Backward Little Hometown Gets This Peaceful Protest Right…Right On!

Peace prevails at Portsmouth protest

By Adam Black – ablack@aimmediamidwest.com

 

A protester holding a sign that says justice for George Floyd as he marched down Second Street Sunday evening.

A protester holding a sign that says justice for George Floyd as he marched down Second Street Sunday evening.

A protester holding a sign with Black Lives Matter written on it outside the Portsmouth Police Department.

By Darian Gillette |PDT

Portsmouth PD takes a knee during a protest Sunday evening in downtown Portsmouth.

By Darian Gillette |PDT

PORTSMOUTH — Residents of Scioto County marched down Second Street chanting “We united. We want peace,” to spread a positive message about the social climate between communities and police.

On Sunday, area residents peacefully marched down the streets of Portsmouth and gathered outside of the Portsmouth Police Department and Municipal Building. Community members came out to show their support and hopefully send a message to end police brutality in response to the recent events between a police officer and George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

“We created a group called We United,” Organizer Datoine Robinson said. “Once that George Floyd incident happened, everybody separated, and it became a black versus white versus cop thing, and I wanted to have something where everyone came back together.”

Residents of all races attended the protest, which marched from Spartan Stadium to the Portsmouth Police Department. Demonstrators chanted and talked with Portsmouth police peacefully. Along the route, residents came out of their homes and cheered.

“Even though we are angry, it’s important that we’re not separating ourselves,” Robinson said. “I believe that can change the world.”

Protests have been taking place across the nation in support of George Floyd, many turning violent. In Columbus, riots have taken place for the past three nights, causing Ohio Governor, Mike DeWine to mobilize the National Guard and set a 10 p.m. curfew.

“Thank you to all the people who kept it peaceful,” Robinson said. “I knew everybody’s intentions and everybody’s hearts, and we did have those people online saying it wasn’t going to be, but maybe they can see this and know they can come and be a part of the change.”

In a Facebook group called We United, Robinson stated several times the protest was to be peaceful and that he has been in contact with the Portsmouth Police Department. As the protesters made their way to the Police Department, they were welcomed and embraced by the Portsmouth Police.

“I totally understand why they want to do this,” Portsmouth Police Chief Debbie Brewer said. “I personally don’t feel what happened was correct. I believe what the officer did was improper, so I support their efforts to change that.”

Robinson, along with Brewer, spoke to the crowd at the police department, spreading the message of peace and justice. As Robinson asked the group to take a knee, he asked members of the department to join them. Without hesitation, the department knelt in solidarity and to remember those who have been lost due to police brutality.

“This was very peaceful and I’m very pleased with that,” Brewer said. “We have had community members come up and thank us and share their concerns, and we want them to know we are here and willing to listen.”

During a speech to the crowd, Brewer shared that she has heard the phrase “there are bad apples everywhere,” but Brewer assured the community that if she found out about a “bad apple,” they would not be working for the department.

“Peaceful protesting is their constitutional right. We will not take that away,” Brewer said. “This is the way to have your voice heard. Be peaceful, interact with people, don’t try to hurt each other.”

Austin Spears also shared that he wanted to do his part to bring peace and justice to the community.

“We can’t rest unless our brother and sisters can rest,” Spears said. “We can be leaders here, in small communities like Portsmouth. We can hold the light for other communities to see and pass that touch to them.”

Spears said he hopes that the peaceful protest in Portsmouth will be followed around the nation and that they will inspire change.

“We can’t drown everything out with hate. We have to drown it out with love and peace,” Spears said. “Now is the time to stand up and rise up and hold hands with our brothers and sister and get stuff accomplished.”

Reach Adam Black at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1927, or by email at ablack@aimmediamidwest.com.

© 2020 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved

America Will Never Be “Great Again” As Long As We Tolerate Cops Killing Black Men and Women

America is pulling itself apart because it is forgetting what America means

Our country, at this moment, is facing a constellation of challenges that touch fundamental precepts of our society, and these are challenges that need to be met head on with courage and with commitment to the only values that can truly unite us — values of respect for each individual person and that foster a culture of inclusion and opportunity for every person.

If this nation feels like it is pulling itself apart, it is because Floyd’s death is a Minneapolis story with a corollary in every community.

It’s also because some would take us down the wrong path. While the underlying frustration is something everyone with an ounce of humanity should feel in response to this injustice, those who are responding with riots, violence and looting are making change harder to enact.

It’s also true that when the president of the United States reacts to events with tweets using such loaded words as “thugs” and seeming to endorse callous use of lethal force, he is stoking fires rather than offering constructive leadership that can pull communities together. And leadership that can unite this country is what is sorely needed right now. We are battling a disease in racism that is as old as humanity itself and that fosters nervous separation rather than inclusiveness.

If ever there was a time we needed the best America, it is now. Instead, it feels as if we are getting the worst.

This was coming for a long time, a slow train rolling in the distance. We’ve spent years feeding our divisions, instead of nurturing our unity. We have made the other of one another. We have looked out at our nation with eyes of contempt and spoken with tongues of enmity. We have closed our hearts to one another. We’ve let ourselves be isolated in the false world of our little internet silos. We’ve created all the fuel we need for our own burning. We just need a match.

George Floyd’s killing should not be that match. It should instead be an awakening light. For this, we will insist on justice. For this, we will bolster the institutions we have created as a free people to deliver that justice.

There is justifying the anger. There is justifying the rage. There is no justifying destruction. There is no justifying stealing and hurting. Nothing about George Floyd’s death should be used to justify opening that door.

There are those who will say this is the inevitable result of a system that has failed a people. To them, we say you are rejecting the history and the possibility of America. We believe our nation has struggled in blood and pain toward equality and toward justice.

The work is far from finished. Each terrible and evil killing is a wound against our progress. George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Botham Jean, Atatiana Jefferson, Breonna Taylor, Trayvon Martin, Emmett Till, Medgar Evers, Martin Luther King Jr. The list of names stretches so deeply into our history that we cannot know all the names — as many as the stars in the sky is all we know.

No, the work is not finished. It will never be finished. But the best America is the place where the work can be done. It is where the work has been done, from the bloody fields of Shiloh to the Pettus Bridge of Selma. The best America is a nation that embraces the brotherhood and sisterhood of humanity in a shared dignity and a natural freedom protected under law for all.

Many of our people are scared or anxious about the future. They are worried and they are hurting. After all, we are inundated with images that cause trauma rather than healing, washed over with words calculated to divide rather than crafted to unify in common purpose.

It’s important to remember, as we scroll and scroll the images and the words that bring the world so intimately to us, that we can have another reaction.

We can remember that we are together. We are still one as a people. We are Americans, and that needs to mean something good. It needs to mean that we are people who seek justice for all, who live to create a better nation, a more perfect union.

That word, union, stretches so deeply into our history. It was the Union that rejected human bondage. It was the Union that bled together against a rebellion committed to the evil of slavery.

It was the Union that stood against tyranny in the world. It was the Union that defeated imperial Japan and that freed western Europe from a genocidal regime. It was the Union that stared down the Soviet threat through decades of fear and that restored nations to their own people. It was the Union that said enough to laws that codified our racist past.

It is our union now that will see us together through these times. Lincoln told us long ago that we could not let ourselves be divided. We have to stand with one another, hand in hand. We do not have to agree on every matter. But we need to be united in the understanding that our futures are intertwined. As Lincoln reminded us in a different but connected context, “We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies.”

We are together. We are one with one another. We are Americans.

Read the criminal complaint against Derek Chauvin–NYT

Why Derek Chauvin Was Charged With Third-Degree Murder

A document by prosecutors details how Mr. Chauvin, a former Minneapolis police officer, interacted with George Floyd before his death. Third-degree murder does not require an intent to kill.

A still image taken from a video, courtesy of Darnella Frazier via Facebook, showed Derek Chauvin, a Minneapolis officer, during the arrest of George Floyd.
Credit…Darnella Frazier, via Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

The former Minneapolis police officer charged in the death of George Floyd held his knee to Mr. Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes, including for two minutes and 53 seconds after Mr. Floyd became unresponsive, according to a document released by prosecutors on Friday.

The document, a statement of probable cause, was used to support a third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter charges against the former officer, Derek Chauvin. The charges carry a combined maximum sentence of 35 years in prison.

The probable cause statement also said that preliminary results from an autopsy “revealed no physical findings that support a diagnosis of traumatic asphyxia or strangulation,” adding that Mr. Floyd had coronary artery disease and hypertensive heart disease. “The combined effects of Mr. Floyd being restrained by the police, his underlying health conditions and any potential intoxicants in his system likely contributed to his death,” the statement said.

Mr. Chauvin, a white former Minneapolis police officer, was charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter for kneeling on the neck of George Floyd, a black man, for nearly nine minutes. Mr. Floyd was pronounced dead at a hospital. (PDF, 7 pages, 0.69 MB)

Mr. Floyd’s family released a statement on Friday saying the charges did not go far enough: “We expected a first-degree murder charge. We want a first-degree murder charge.”

A first- or second-degree charge would require prosecutors to prove that Mr. Chauvin intended to kill Mr. Floyd, said Richard Frase, a professor of criminal law at the University of Minnesota. He said the criminal complaint against Mr. Chauvin did not identify any specific motive for officers to kill Mr. Floyd, which essentially ruled out stronger murder charges.

Third-degree murder does not require an intent to kill, according to the Minnesota statute, only that the perpetrator caused someone’s death in a dangerous act “without regard for human life.” Second-degree manslaughter requires prosecutors to prove that Mr. Chauvin was so negligent as to create an “unreasonable risk,” and consciously took the chance that his actions would cause Mr. Floyd to be severely harmed or die.

The charges facing Mr. Chauvin are similar to another fatal case involving a Minneapolis police officer, Mohamed Noor, who was convicted in the 2017 shooting death of an unarmed woman, Justine Ruszczyk.

Professor Frase said the case against Mr. Chauvin appeared to be even stronger than the one brought against Mr. Noor, who was convicted of third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.

In that case, Professor Frase said, the officer had seemingly panicked and fired a single shot. “There’s a question of whether he even had time to be reckless,” he said, referring to Mr. Noor. “Here, there’s eight minutes.”

The statement, which was written by Michelle M. Frascone, a special agent of the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, also describes how officers, including Mr. Chauvin, had come in contact with Mr. Floyd on Monday evening after responding to a report of someone trying to make a purchase at a store with a fake $20 bill.

Two officers approached Mr. Floyd, a former high school sports star who worked as a bouncer at a restaurant in Minneapolis, as he sat in a car not far from the store, the probable cause statement said. Mr. Floyd, who was in a car with two other people, was ordered out and arrested. But when the officers began to move him toward a squad car, he “stiffened up, fell to the ground, and told the officers he was claustrophobic,” the statement issued by prosecutors said.

When two other officers arrived, including Mr. Chauvin, the officers “made several attempts to get Mr. Floyd in the back seat” of a squad car, while Mr. Floyd “struggled with the officers by intentionally falling down, saying he was not going in the car, and refusing to stand still,” the statement said.

While still standing, Mr. Floyd began to say he could not breathe, the document said.

Around 8:19 p.m., Mr. Chauvin placed his knee onto Mr. Floyd’s neck area, holding him on the ground while another officer held his legs. At times, Mr. Floyd pleaded, saying, “I can’t breathe,” “please” and “mama.”

“You are talking fine,” the officers said as Mr. Floyd moved back and forth on the ground, according to the probable cause statement.

At 8:24 p.m., Mr. Floyd grew still, the statement said. A minute later, one of the other officers checked his wrist for a pulse but could not find one. Mr. Chauvin continued to hold his knee down on Mr. Floyd’s neck until 8:27, according to the statement.

Read the criminal complaint against Derek Chauvin

Every Person Arrested In Saint Paul Last Night Was From Out Of State, Mayor Says

Minnesota Governor Tim Walz, along with mayors Jacob Frey and Melvin Carter, on Saturday condemned violent protests in the state, blaming organized outside groups for promoting unrest, while also announcing that they will fully mobilize the Minnesota national guard.

“Lets be very clear, the situation in Minneapolis is no longer in any way about the murder of George Floyd,” Walz said in a press conference. The violent unrest has now turned into attacks on civil society, “instilling fear and disrupting our great city.”

“I want to be very, very clear: The people that are doing this are not Minneapolis residents,” Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey added. “They are coming in largely from outside of the city, from outside of the region, to prey on everything we have built over the last several decades.”

According to Saint Paul Mayor Melvin Carter, every person arrested in the city last night was from out of state: “We don’t know these folks,” he reiterated.

Walz, who also announced that he would fully mobilize the Minnesota national guard for the first time in 164 years, called the unrest “an organized attempt to destabilize civil society with no regard for civil life or property.”

“That situation can be expected to deteriorate further with these people,” Walz said, adding that violent protestors are being fed professional tactics in urban warfare by outside groups.

The dynamic has changed over the last couple days, Walz, Carter and Frey said. Protests gradually shifted from being peaceful on Tuesday, but as more people came from outside of the city, they’ve turned increasingly violent in recent days.

“Our great cities of Minneapolis and Saint Paul are under assault by people who do not share our values, who do not value life and the work that went into this, and certainly who are not here to honor George Floyd,” Walz said. “So if you are on the streets tonight, it is very clear: You are not with us.”

“This is no longer about protesting… This is about violence and we need to make sure that it stops,” Frey said. “We’re in the middle of a pandemic right now.” The protection of citizens and property is the top priority, Walz and Frey confirmed on Saturday.

CHAOS DESCENDS UPON AMERICA

SOURCE: ZEROHEDGE

Minnesota Governor Tim Walz summed-up the current chaos erupting nationwide perfectly:

“This is absolutely no longer about George Floyd or addressing inequities anymore. This is an organized attack designed to destabilize civil society.”

Protests raged overnight in dozens of U.S. cities, including Minneapolis, Washington, D.C., New York City, Atlanta, Houston, and several large metro areas on the West Coast.

Protests or social unrest was seen in these major metros on Friday night:

  • Houston & Fort Worth, TX
  • NYC
  • Chicago, IL
  • Atlanta, GA
  • Washington D.C.
  • Detroit, MI
  • Fort Wayne, IN
  • Kansas City, MO
  • Des Moines, IA
  • Vegas, NV
  • Charlotte, NC
  • San Jose, CA
  • Boston, MA
  • Memphis, TN
  • Columbus, OH
  • Denver, CO
  • Cincinnati, OH
  • Portland, ME
  • Louisville, KY

Starting in Minneapolis, where unrest continued into the fourth night following the death of George Floyd, a man who was killed by Minneapolis Police on Monday, had Minnesota National Guard Adjutant General Jon Jensen and Governor Tim Walz announce the request for 1,000 more soldiers from the National Guard as widespread rioting and looting continued.

“This is the largest civilian deployment in Minnesota history that we have out there today, and quite candidly right now, we do not have the numbers,” Walz said Saturday morning.” We cannot arrest people when we are trying to hold ground because of the sheer size, the dynamics, and wanton violence.”

Jensen expects by Saturday evening, up to 1,700 soldiers will be “ready to go.” On Friday night, assault rifle-wielding soldiers were spotted on the streets within the ranks of local police.

Minneapolis protest May 29. h/t Unicorn Riot

A fleet of armored Humvees lined the street “on Chicago Ave in between Lake St. and 31st as firefighters battle raging fires 8 blocks from where George Floyd was killed,” tweeted Unicorn Riot.

Minneapolis protest May 29. h/t Unicorn Riot

Protesters appeared to have torched a Wells Fargo bank.

 

Building structure(s) are still on fire on Saturday morning.

Chaos and destruction continue into the weekend.

Scenes last night from Interstate 35W, a major highway system in the U.S. that passes through downtown Minneapolis, where protesters broke into a moving UPS truck and stole packages.

In response to Washington, D.C. protests on Friday evening, President Trump thanked the Secret Service on Saturday morning for protecting the White house.

“Many Secret Service agents just waiting for action,” President Trump tweeted.

Meanwhile, the Treasury Department in DC was breached by rioters, who spray-painted the building. According to CNN, some of the protesters were stopped by US Secret Service but eventually let go.

Down in Atlanta, CNN’s headquarters were attacked by protesters on Friday evening.

h/t Ryan Maue May 29

h/t Ryan Maue May 29

Several stunning images of the unrest in Atlanta last night.

h/t Twitter handle kieroncg May 29

An angry mob lit NYPD Police vans on fire last night:

h/t Twitter May 29

Rioting in Brooklyn overnight.

From Houston to Phoenix to Portland, police forces have reported widespread social unrest.

As things spiral out of control, two Federal Protective Service officers suffered gunshot wounds in Oakland, California, last night, leaving one of them dead.

Oakland was crazy in the overnight, one protester stole a skid loader tractor and drove it down the street.

Protesters clashed with police in Oakland.

Protesters looting a car dealership in Oakland.

Several years ago, US Northern Command “rehearsed non-lethal riot control tactics” at Davis-Monthan AFB in Arizona. Perhaps preparation for widespread social unrest across the country. The government has known this day was coming…

US Northern Command training for riots in 2018

President Trump signed an executive order in late March that allows the Pentagon to mobilize up to a million troops to combat the coronavirus outbreak in the country. The order could now be directed at social unrest. It’s only a matter of time before more state governors activate National Guard troops like Minnesota did early this week.

We were the first to note Friday, the federal government flew a military drone above Minneapolis to spy on protesters.

A perfect storm develops: 40 million unemployed, economy crashed, record polarization and wealth inequality at extremes, the country is quickly descending into chaos into the summer months. So what happens when the government stops unleashing helicopter money for people who recently lost their jobs?

The 10:09 Video That Set Minneapolis On Fire

[It is almost impossible to watch the shocking 10:09 murder video in full,  so here is the shortened version, followed by link to full Facebook video.]

[SHORTENED YOUTUBE VERSION OF GEORGE FLOYD MURDER VIDEO]

[Full video on Facebook an unbelievable 10:09 minutes long]

New Security Video Shows Events Leading Up To George Floyd’s Arrest | NBC News NOW

NBC News obtained over 60 minutes of security footage from a nearby restaurant showing some of the events leading up to George Floyd’s arrest and eventual death. Some of the footage shows two officers arriving at the scene around 8 p.m., removing a man later identified as George Floyd from a car parked on the street, handcuffing and questioning him before eventually walking him across the street as another police car arrives.

Viral stupidity is no joke anymore.

We all had a good laugh — or rather, most of us did — in late 2015 when a Public Policy Polling survey of 1,057 likely voters in the presidential primary found that 41% of supporters of Republican front-runner Donald Trump favored the idea of bombing Agrabah, the fictional Arab city in Disney’s 1992 animated movie “Aladdin.”

That was some grade-A, knee-jerk, bellicose racism on display there! Revealing, to be sure, and bit frightening, but inconsequential outside of the cartoon universe.

Less amusing and more alarming is news of last week’s Yahoo News/YouGov poll of 1,640 Americans showing that 44% of Republicans and 50% of those who get most of their TV news from conservative Fox News believe that Microsoft founder Bill Gates “wants to use a mass vaccination campaign against COVID-19 to implant microchips that would be used to track people with a digital ID.”

The very idea is all kinds of crazy. First, anything small enough to be surreptitiously and safely injected into a person’s veins would have no independent transmitting power. And second, nearly all of us already willingly carry digital tracking devices with us in the form of cellular telephones. Big Tech already knows where most of us are most of the time.

And it reflects a level of paranoia that will make it difficult to impossible for our population to achieve general immunity to COVID-19 should a vaccine be developed.

Will you get the shot? In that same poll, only 50% of respondents said yes. Overall, 73% said they were at least somewhat concerned with the safety of a fast-tracked vaccine (understandable!) and only 42% said they trusted the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other public health officials to “judge the risks of vaccines.”

similar poll of 1,056 adults conducted May 14-18 by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research at the University of Chicago found just 49% of respondents saying they planned to get a COVID-19 vaccine if one becomes available.

This is well below the 70% to 90% of the population that the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health estimates needs to be vaccinated or to have already recovered from an infectious disease for the population to achieve “herd immunity” that severely limits contagion and reduces risks of new infection.

Along those lines, 79% of the respondents to the AP-NORC poll said they thought it was important for a vaccine to be publicly available “before restrictions on social and economic activities” are lifted.

You can’t blame this grim paradox on President Trump. He’s been talking up the promise of a vaccine since at least March 2, when he expressed the hope that one would be available “in the next few months” to put and end to this crisis. And I can find no record of him or his sycophants at Fox News promoting anti-vaxx conspiracy theories about Bill Gates and tracking chips.

In fact, you can’t blame just Republicans. The Yahoo/YouGov poll found 19% of Democrats believe the wacko Bill Gates theory, including 15% of those who get most of their TV news from liberal MSNBC. Will Democrats get the shot if a vaccine becomes available? Only 64% said yes (compared with 43% of Republicans). And just 55% said they trust the CDC to judge vaccines (compared with 33% of Republicans).

Going back to 2015 and the poll question about bombing Agrabah, nearly 1 in 5 supporters of then-Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton took the magic carpet ride of ignorance and indicated their support for laying waste that make-believe city.

And the recent Yahoo/YouGov poll found 58% of Democrats but just 33% of Republicans agreeing with the currently false assertion that “coronavirus-related deaths have surged in states like Florida, Georgia and Texas which have reopened their economies.”

Truth isn’t the only weapon we’ll need to vanquish this virus, but without it we’re in for a much longer and deadlier slog.

Twitter @EricZorn

Eric Zorn is an op-ed columnist for the Chicago Tribune with a liberal/progressive bent who specializes in local news and politics. He’s married with three adult children, lives on the Northwest Side of Chicago and is a regular panelist on “The Mincing Rascals,” an award-winning news-talk podcast. He’s also a pretty good square-dance fiddler.

US Predator Drone Circles Minneapolis Following Trump’s ‘Shooting Starts’ Tweet

Publicly available flight data shows that a Predator drone belonging to US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) departed North Dakota’s Grand Forks Air Force Base on Friday and traveled around the city of Minneapolis, Minnesota, on a hexagonal flight path before leaving the state.

The ADB-S Exchange, an online, publicly available flight-tracking tool built on open-source software, revealed that an aircraft labeled “CBP104” took particular interest in Minneapolis on May 29 and hovered around the embattled city.

Investigative reporter Jason Paladino, of the watchdog group Project on Government Oversight, first called attention to the seemingly unusual flight path and identified the aircraft as a MQ-1 Predator drone.

Sputnik confirmed the flight path of CBP104 was accurately depicted, according to ADB-S Exchange data.

Flight path of CBP104 on May 29, 2020, as shown by the ADB-S Exchange.
SPUTNIK SCREENSHOT  Flight path of “CBP104” on May 29, 2020, as shown by the ADB-S Exchange.

Friday evening, the CBP released a statement, noting that the drone was deployed to “provide live video to aid in situational awareness at the request of our federal law enforcement partners in Minneapolis.”

However, “[a]fter arriving into the Minneapolis airspace, the requesting agency determined that the aircraft was no longer needed for operational awareness and departed back to Grand Forks.”

The Predator drone’s trip from North Dakota to Minnesota comes after US President Donald Trump took to Twitter to announce that he would support the shooting of American citizens as a response to looting in Minneapolis.

Twitter’s decision to flag the president’s provocative tweet led him to issue another post, which called for Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act to be revoked.

On Thursday, US Attorney General William Barr noted that Trump’s recent executive order regarding social media companies would have no impact on Section 230, which says that “no provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider.”

Following the death of Minneapolis resident George Floyd at the hands of police after a Monday arrest, protests and riots have broken out in the city. Amid lockdowns and constant media coverage, this has led to a national conversation in the US surrounding police brutality, racism and justice.

It was announced Friday afternoon that ex-Minneapolis Police Department officer Derek Chauvin, a 19-year veteran of the force, had been arrested and charged with third-degree murder in connection to Floyd’s death.

Though some view the arrest and charge as a step toward justice, Dr. Phil Stinson, the principal investigator for the Henry A. Wallace Police Crime Database, told Sputnik on Thursday that it is possible that the Minneapolis Police Department may impede the ongoing investigation, as it reportedly did when it came to the case of Mohamed Noor.

On the state level, Minnesota Governor Tim Walz called upon the National Guard to assist with protecting peaceful protesters and guarding local businesses from looters. Some have viewed the governor’s contact of the military force as a potentially fatal escalation of policing in the city.

The Lid Comes-Off the American Pandora’s Box, “See the violence inherent in the system!”

George Floyd protests live updates: Anger floods cities across the US; Pentagon could order military police to Minneapolis, report says

White House briefly locked down as unrest spreads to Atlanta, DC, NYC after George Floyd death

Scenes from a country in free fall.

A demonstrator in Minneapolis injured by rubber bullets during protests Thursday over the death of George Floyd.
Credit…Carlos Barria/Reuters

The last two and a half months in America have felt like the opening montage in a dystopian film about a nation come undone. First the pandemic hit and hospitals in New York City were overwhelmed. The national economy froze and unemployment soared; one in four American workers has applied for unemployment benefits since March. Lines of cars stretched for miles at food banks. Heavily armed lockdown protesters demonstrated across the country; in Michigan, they forced the Capitol to close and legislators to cancel their session. Nationwide, at least 100,000 people died of a disease almost no one had heard of last year.

Then, this week, a Minneapolis police officer was filmed kneeling on the neck of a black man named George Floyd. As the life went out of him, Floyd pleaded that he couldn’t breathe, echoing the last words of Eric Garner, whose 2014 death at the hands of New York policemen helped catalyze the Black Lives Matter movement. Floyd’s death came only days after three Georgia men were arrested on charges of pursuing and killing a young black man, Ahmaud Arbery, whom they saw out running. A prosecutor had initially declined to charge the men on the grounds that their actions were legal under the state’s self-defense laws.

In Minneapolis protesters poured into the streets, where they met a far harsher police response than anything faced by the country’s gun-toting anti-lockdown activists. On Wednesday night, peaceful demonstrations turned into riots, and on Thursday Minnesota’s governor called in the National Guard.

For a moment, it seemed as if the blithe brutality of Floyd’s death might check the worst impulses of the president and his Blue Lives Matter supporters. The authorities were forced to act: All four of the policemen involved were fired, police chiefs across the country condemned them and William Barr’s Justice Department promised a federal investigation that would be a “top priority.” Even Donald Trump, who has encouraged police brutality in the past, described what happened to Floyd as a “very, very bad thing.”

But on Thursday night, after a county prosecutor said his office was still determining if the four policemen had committed a crime, the uprising in Minneapolis was reignited, and furious people burned a police precinct. (One of the officers was arrested and charged with third-degree murder on Friday.) On Twitter, an addled Trump threatened military violence against those he called “THUGS,” writing, “When the looting starts, the shooting starts.”

Whether Trump knew it or not, he was quoting a racist phrase from the 1960s used by George Wallace, among others. The president later tried to tamp down outrage by saying he was just warning of danger — the Trump campaign has hoped, after all, to peel off some black voters from the Democrats — but his meaning was obvious enough. This is the same president who on Thursday tweeted out a video of a supporter saying, “The only good Democrat is a dead Democrat.”

The Trump presidency has been marked by shocking spasms of right-wing violence: the white nationalist riot in Charlottesville, Va., the massacre at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, the mass shooting targeting Latinos in El Paso. But even as the country has simmered and seethed, there hasn’t been widespread disorder. Now, though, we might be at the start of a long, hot summer of civil unrest.

So many things make America combustible right now: mass unemployment, a pandemic that’s laid bare murderous health and economic inequalities, teenagers with little to do, police violence, right-wingers itching for a second civil war and a president eager to pour gasoline on every fire. “I think we’re indeed in a moment where things are going to get a lot more tense before they get more peaceful,” said the University of Michigan historian Heather Ann Thompson, who won the Pulitzer Prize for her 2016 book “Blood in the Water: The Attica Prison Uprising of 1971 and Its Legacy.”

Already the Minneapolis protests have spread to other cities. On Thursday night, someone fired a gun near a crowd of demonstrators in Denver and more than 40 people were arrested in New York City. Seven people were shot at a protest in Louisville, Ky., where crowds had turned out to demand justice for Breonna Taylor, an unarmed black woman who was shot by police in her own apartment in March.

These demonstrations were sparked by specific instances of police violence, but they also take place in a context of widespread health and economic devastation that’s been disproportionately borne by people of color, especially those who are poor. “Sociologists have studied collective behavior, urban unrest for decades, and I think it’s safe to say that the consensus view is that it’s never just about a precipitating incident that resulted in the unrest,” Darnell Hunt, dean of social sciences at U.C.L.A., told me. “It’s always a collection of factors that make the situation ripe for collective behavior, unrest and mobilization.”

Keith Ellison, Minnesota’s progressive attorney general, told me that lately, when he goes out walking or running in Minneapolis, he feels a “coiled sort of anxiousness ready to spring.” Many people, he said, “have been cooped up for two months, and so now they’re in a different space and a different place. They’re restless. Some of them have been unemployed, some of them don’t have rent money, and they’re angry, they’re frustrated.”

That frustration is likely to build, because the economic ruin from the pandemic is just beginning. In some states, moratoriums on evictions have ended or will soon. The expanded unemployment benefits passed by Congress as part of the CARES Act run out at the end of July. State budgets have been ravaged, and Republicans in Washington have so far refused to come to states’ aid, meaning we’ll likely soon see painful cutbacks in public jobs and services.

“Where people are broke, and there doesn’t appear to be any assistance, there’s no leadership, there’s no clarity about what is going to happen, this creates the conditions for anger, rage, desperation and hopelessness, which can be a very volatile combination,” said Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, an assistant professor of African-American studies at Princeton. “I would not at all be surprised to see this kind of reaction elsewhere over the course of the next several months.”

But if America feels like a tinderbox at the moment, it’s not just because of pressure coming from the dispossessed. On Wednesday, the journalists Robert Evans and Jason Wilson published a fascinating and disturbing look at the “boogaloo” movement — “an extremely online update of the militia movement” — on the investigative website Bellingcat. “The ‘boogaloo Bois’ expect, even hope, that the warmer weather will bring armed confrontations with law enforcement, and will build momentum towards a new civil war in the United States,” Evans and Wilson write. They add, “In a divided, destabilized post-coronavirus landscape, they could well contribute to widespread violence in the streets of American cities.”

The boogaloo movement’s surreal iconography includes Hawaiian shirts — often mixed with combat gear — and igloos. (The idea is that “luau” and “igloo” sound like “boogaloo.”) People associated with the subculture had a significant presence at the lockdown protests, but some, motivated by hatred of the police and a love of bedlam, took part in the Minneapolis demonstrations as well. (According to Evans and Wilson, while much of boogaloo culture is steeped in white supremacy, there’s a “very active struggle within some parts of this movement as to whether or not their dreamed-of uprising will be based in bigotry.”) Ellison told me he saw boogaloo bois holding a flag with an igloo on it at the Wednesday night protest in Minneapolis.

Most American presidents, faced with such domestic instability, would seek de-escalation. This is one reason civil unrest, for all the damage it can cause to communities where it breaks out, has often led to reform. Change has come, said Thompson, when activists have “created a situation where the people in power actually had to act in order to bring back some meaningful public peace.”

Now, however, we have a president who doesn’t much care about warding off chaos. “In every other time when protest has reached a fever pitch because injustices very much needed to be remedied, the country ultimately tried to find a new equilibrium, tried to address it enough to reach some sort of peace,” said Thompson. “We now have a leadership that’s been crystal clear that it’s perfectly OK if we descend into utter civil war.”

Some of the tropes are familiar, but we haven’t seen this movie before. No one knows how dark things could get, only that, in the Trump era, scenes that seem nightmarish one day come to look almost normal the next.

“When the looting starts, the shooting starts,”–Donald Trump

Twitter adds unprecedented warning to Trump tweet threatening to shoot Minneapolis protesters

‘This Tweet violated the Twitter Rules about glorifying violence,’ message reads

Twitter has added an unprecedented warning to a Trump tweet, warning users that the post “glorifies violence”.

The message was added to a post in which Mr Trump seemed to threaten that people protesting against the death of an unarmed black man in custody could be shot.

“This Tweet violated the Twitter Rules about glorifying violence,” the message reads. “However, Twitter has determined that it may be in the public’s interest for the Tweet to remain accessible.”

The decision comes as Mr Trump signed a new executive order on social networks. Mr Trump’s announcement that social media companies would be more strictly regulated came after Twitter placed a different warning on another of his posts, which fact-checked the claim that mail-in voting would lead to widespread fraud.

Adding the warning is likely to cause yet more animosity between Twitter and Mr Trump, who has ramped up his attacks on the social network since the fact-checking messages were displayed.

It is the first time that Twitter has applied such a warning to the president’s tweets. Twitter has said in the past that other potentially violent tweets – such as posts appearing to threaten North Korea with nuclear war – would stay visible on the site becuase they are “newsworthy”, despite the fact they would otherwise be judged to have broken the sites rules.

As well as showing a message above the tweet whenever it appears in a users’ feed, the decision means that people will not be able to reply or retweet the post.

“We have placed a public interest notice on this Tweet from Donald Trump,” Twitter said in a post on its ​official feed.

“This Tweet violates our policies regarding the glorification of violence based on the historical context of the last line, its connection to violence, and the risk it could inspire similar actions today.

“We’ve taken action in the interest of preventing others from being inspired to commit violent acts, but have kept the Tweet on Twitter because it is important that the public still be able to see the Tweet given its relevance to ongoing matters of public importance.

Twitter’s thread was retweeted by chief executive Jack Dorsey, who is reported to have been consulted on the plan to add the warning before it happened.

“I can’t stand back & watch this happen to a great American City, Minneapolis. A total lack of leadership. Either the very weak Radical Left Mayor, Jacob Frey, get his act together and bring the City under control, or I will send in the National Guard & get the job done right,” he wrote.

“These THUGS are dishonoring the memory of George Floyd, and I won’t let that happen. Just spoke to Governor Tim Walz and told him that the Military is with him all the way. Any difficulty and we will assume control but, when the looting starts, the shooting starts. Thank you!”

Protests first erupted on Tuesday, a day after George Floyd’s death in a confrontation with police which was captured on a widely seen video.

On the footage, Mr Floyd can be seen pleading as Officer Derek Chauvin presses his knee against him.

As minutes pass, Mr Floyd slowly stops talking and moving. The 3rd Precinct covers the portion of south Minneapolis where Mr Floyd was arrested.

Minnesota governor Tim Walz earlier activated the US National Guard at the Minneapolis mayor’s request, but it was not immediately clear when and where the Guard was being deployed, and none could be seen during protests in Minneapolis or neighbouring St Paul.

The Guard tweeted minutes after the precinct burned that it had activated more than 500 soldiers across the metro area.

The National Guard said a “key objective” was to make sure fire departments could respond to calls, and said in a follow-up tweet it was “here with the Minneapolis Fire Department” to assist.

But no move was made to put out the 3rd Precinct fire. Assistant Fire Chief Bryan Tyner said fire crews could not safely respond to fires at the precinct station and some surrounding buildings.

Earlier on Thursday, dozens of businesses across the Twin Cities boarded up their windows and doors in an effort to prevent looting, with Minneapolis-based Target announcing it was temporarily closing two dozen nearby stores.

Riots In Midwestern Cities Over Racial Killings/Lockdown Tensions

South Minneapolis still burning Friday morning after night of protests, riots over death of George Floyd

7 shot during protests in Louisville, police say

At least one person was described as being in critical condition. The shooting did not involve police, but occurred amid protests.

By Phil Helsel and Dennis Romero

Seven people were shot in Louisville, Kentucky, one of whom was in critical condition, during protests that turned violent Thursday night, police said.

Circumstances of the shootings were not immediately clear, and a police spokesman called the situation downtown fluid early Friday.

Officers were not involved in the shootings, Police Sgt. Lamont Washington said.

No other details were immediately available from police. Mayor Greg Fischer said in a video statement early Friday that seven people were shot “from within the crowd” and no police officers fired their weapons. Five were in good condition, two were sent to surgery, he said, adding “my prayers are with all of them.”

The violence happened as hundreds had gathered to protest the death of Breonna Taylor, a 26-year-old woman who was killed by Louisville police this spring.

“What we are seeing tonight in this community is the obvious frustration of the tension between police and residents,” police special adviser Jessie Halladay said earlier in a video call.

“What started out as a peaceful protest earlier this evening is now escalating into property damage, more aggressive action, and we’ve just heard reports of shots fired in the crowd,” she said at the time. She said that in addition to property damage bottles had been thrown at officers.

The Louisville crowd had gathered to decry the death of Taylor, who was fatally shot by Louisville police during a raid at her home in the early-morning hours of March 13.

Trump/Pompeo Strong-Arms Liberian Govt. To Block Greek-Owned Tankers Delivering To Venezuela

One Iranian Tanker In Venezuelan Waters, While 4 More Watch From African Coast

US disrupts Iranian fuel deliveries to Venezuela, official says

Iran and Venezuela attempted to outmaneuver American sanctions by establishing a new oil partnership.

Two Liberian-flagged, Greek-owned ships that “were en route to Venezuela carrying Iranian fuel, scrapped their deliveries after the U.S. threatened sanctions,” a senior U.S. official told Fox News.

First reported by The Wall Street Journal, the ships were expected to arrive in Venezuela as the final delivery in a previously planned five-oil-tanker shipment, an effort that the Venezuelan regime has said is a partnership to thwart the American sanctions.

“The Iranian oil tankers arriving in Venezuela are nothing but a distraction from the real problems facing Maduro,” a spokesperson from the State Department told Fox News. “These shipments will do nothing to help Venezuelans, they will only help prop up the former Maduro regime for a little while longer.”

Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro said in a televised address: “We are two rebel revolutionary peoples that are never going to kneel before North American imperialism.”

But the Greek-owned ships would have been unable to access international banking and maritime insurance had they carried out the shipment.

U.S. officials have been in direct communication with the ships, which are no longer heading to Venezuala but heading south off the coast of Senegal near Liberia, according to The Wall Street Journal.

The State Department’s Iran Action Group reportedly contacted the Liberian government, to which the two ships are registered, to warn them against sanctions. The Liberian government immediately revoked the ships’ accreditation.

The two Greek firms that own the ships were also threatened with U.S. sanctions and legal action, at which point the two ships abandoned the course, according to The Journal.

The U.S. has been increasing its efforts in pressuring both nations with sanctions.

“We will continue to use the full weight of United States’ economic and diplomatic power to press for the restoration of Venezuelan democracy,” the State Department spokesperson told Fox News.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced Wednesday that the U.S. will be removing all sanction waivers that allowed Chinese, European and Russian companies to work with Iranian nuclear sites without falling target to existing U.S. sanctions on Iran.

President Trump has also increased sanctions on Venezuela, drastically affecting its oil production.

According to experts, the oil shipments were only expected to satisfy Venezuelan demand for a couple of weeks.

“Iranian gas cannot prevent the inevitable: a democratic transition that restores prosperity to Venezuela,” the State Department spokesperson said.

They Have Murdered the National Economy, When They Only Had To Protect the Sick and the Elderly

COVID-19 Targets the Elderly. Why Don’t Our Prevention Efforts?

Feud over Stanford coronavirus study: ‘The authors owe us all an apology’

Nearly every Mass. coronavirus death was patient with underlying medical condition, data shows

NIAID-RML

Frank O’Laughlin

BOSTON (WHDH) – Nearly every coronavirus-related death in Massachusetts has been a patient with an underlying health condition or previous hospitalization, Massachusetts health data shows.

RELATED: More than half of Massachusetts’ coronavirus deaths have been nursing home residents

Data from deaths following completed investigations indicate 98.1 percent (1,289) of people who died after contracting the disease had an underlying condition, such as chronic lung disease, serious heart ailments, obesity, diabetes, chronic kidney disease, or liver disease.

Individuals who have been hospitalized at any point in time are also dying at an alarming rate. Fifty-nine percent (1,777) of the state’s 3,003 total deaths include people who have spent time in the hospital prior to contracting coronavirus.

The data also shows that males and females are equally susceptible to getting infected. There have been 1,503 females (50.3 percent) who have died from coronavirus. It has claimed the lives of 1,487 (49.7% percent) males.

RELATED: Simulator shows thousands more could die of COVID-19 in Mass. if stay-at-home

Those who are 80 years of age or older have been dying at the highest rate. There have been 1,905 (63 percent) reported deaths in that age group.

Middlesex County has recorded the most deaths with 700 fatalities.

Jim Stone Reports Corrects Post On Minneapolis Riots

[Report Still Stands, only error made in debunking video by GAS/COFFEE SIGN.  Cop and victim both reportedly worked security at same nightclub.–ed.]

COP AND DECEASED WERE BOUNCERS AT THE SAME NIGHT CLUB

MAJOR ERROR

Many readers likely saw a picture I had posted that had the gas station in the background showing diesel at 99 cents a gallon. Though at one time it was that low, and in various parts of Minnesota it is still below $2, the picture was an error caused by low video resolution. I got onto Google maps to double check the gas station in the video, and in street view it does not say diesel, it says coffee. So Speedy puts ONE gas price, and the price of coffee on their sign. I have not seen that done before.The rest of the post was legit, where nothing in the video made sense but right when I had taken it down and had it cached in “cut” so I could remove the error and re-post, there was a power outage and I lost the entire thing. I am looking into other anomalies now.

 

I removed the “diesel price” post because it was an error (at least a good enough debunk came out for me to pull it.

I am skeptical. I think it was legit but I am not going to argue with a debunk that could end up being real.

Radio Frequency ID Chips Do Not Track You…Your Cellphone Tracks You

Microchips Inserted via Vaccine Would Be a Terrible Way to Track People

A woman wearing sunglasses and a mask
A woman wears a mask that reads “Don’t give Gates a chance. Don’t pay the bill” during a protest against lockdown measures and other government coronavirus policies on May 16 in Berlin.
Sean Gallup/Getty Images

This article is part of Privacy in the Pandemic, a Future Tense series.

The coronavirus pandemic has spawned a glut of conspiracy theories as nefarious actors work to capitalize on people’s fear and anxiety, further dividing us through bot accounts. Some of these theories center on Bill Gates, who’s been funding quite a bit of coronavirus vaccine research.

Gates has long been a target of conspiracy theories, but the pandemic seems to have ratcheted it up a notch. Yahoo News and YouGov recently polled U.S. adults on their coronavirus beliefs and found that only 40 percent of respondents believe it’s false that “Bill Gates wants to use a mass vaccination campaign against COVID-19 to implant microchips in people that would be used to track people with a digital ID.” The other 60 percent say it’s true or are “not sure.”

The same principles hold true for biohackers, a dedicated subculture of body modification enthusiasts who inject chips for fun. A few years ago, I interviewed several of these “cyborgs,” who said that it’s a cool party trick but they wished the chips were more versatile. The vast majority of these chips use RFID technology, the same thing that allows you to wave your card over a reader at a store instead of swiping it. The implanted chips can unlock doors with digital locks or serve as a digital business card if an associate scans your hand, but their use is only available if someone is up close to you and knows exactly where to scan. Even worse, they go on the fritz within a few years, and given chips’ limited abilities, many people don’t bother replacing their chip once it stops scanning.

In dogs or humans, these RFID microchips only transmit information; for one to track you, it would also need to receive information from, say, cell towers, so that it could receive the data to figure out its location, then transmit it back to the tower. That’s also a pretty power-intensive transaction, which means your chip would need some juice from a battery pack. Think about how quickly your phone dies when trying to find cell service in a spotty area. A GPS tracker needs that same amount of power.

That means if you wanted to inject GPS into someone else, you’d also have to inject a battery—which sounds downright unpleasant, if not deadly. Perhaps someone, someday, will figure out how to miniaturize an injectable GPS chip with a battery pack that doesn’t kill its host, but it doesn’t yet exist.

And the ability to get it so small that it fits into a vaccine needle? That’s going to take even longer.

If you’re worried about location tracking, look no further than your cellphone. Phones are bona fide tracking devices; people use their GPS functions all the time to find their friends or map their routes. There are serious, worrisome privacy violations that can come from companies collecting and sharing your GPS data, yet we willingly give up that information daily. As Slate’s politics editor Tom Scocca puts it: “Bill Gates doesn’t have to implant a tracker in you because Steve Jobs got you to buy one yourself.”

Future Tense is a partnership of SlateNew America, and Arizona State University that examines emerging technologies, public policy, and society.

Unemployed Americans Have Been Running Out of Food

Poll: 37% of unemployed Americans ran out of food in past month

Oak Park, Ill. — Kate Maehr has never seen anything like it: lines stretching for blocks as people, many with children, inch forward to get boxes of food they hope will last until the next giveaway, until the next paycheck or until they can get government food assistance.

“It’s just heartbreaking,” said Maehr, executive director of the Greater Chicago Food Depository. “They’re finding themselves in a set of circumstances where they have no income and they also have no food, and it happened in an instant.”

The number of people seeking help from her organization and affiliated food pantries has surged 60% since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, which has shut down the nation’s economy and thrown tens of millions of people out of work. Across the country, worries about having enough to eat are adding to the anxiety of millions of people, according to a survey that found 37% of unemployed Americans ran out of food in the past month and 46% said they worried about running out.

Even those who are working often struggle. Two in 10 working adults said that in the past 30 days, they ran out of food before they could earn enough money to buy more. One-quarter worried that would happen.

Those results come from the second wave of the COVID Impact Survey, conducted by NORC at the University of Chicago for the Data Foundation. The survey aims to provide an ongoing assessment of the nation’s mental, physical and financial health during the pandemic.

There is no parallel in U.S. history for the suddenness or severity of the economic collapse, which has cost more than 36 million jobs since the virus struck. The nationwide unemployment rate was 14.7% in April, the highest since the Great Depression. While many Americans believe they will be working in the coming months, unemployed Americans – those most likely to report running out of food – aren’t as optimistic.

Overall, those who are still working are highly confident they will have a job in one month and in three months, with more than 8 in 10 saying it’s very likely. But among those who aren’t working because they are temporarily laid off, providing care during the pandemic or looking for work, just 28% say it is highly likely that they will be employed in 30 days and 46% say it’s highly likely they’ll be working in three months. Roughly another quarter say it’s somewhat likely in 30 days and 90 days.

The likelihood of unemployed people returning to work depends heavily on whether states can restart their economies without creating new surges in COVID-19 infections, said Gabriel Ehrlich, an economic forecaster at the University of Michigan. He said most layoffs are expected to be temporary. But he worries that many small businesses will fail while fewer new ones take their place, and that state and local governments won’t get federal help to avoid furloughs.

“The most important thing driving what happens to the economy is the course of disease. Do people feel safe? Are they safe?” Ehrlich said. “We’re hoping we’ve seen the worst.”

Kim Scanland, from the Detroit suburb of Lincoln Park, said she and her husband are managing to get by on unemployment benefits for now.

Scanland, 49, was laid off in mid-March from her job testing students’ hearing and vision in Wayne County and isn’t sure if or when she will go back. Her husband, 50, lost his job at a steel plant when it closed for good last month. That could make it challenging for him to find work, she said, “because there’s a lot of people that are gonna be looking for jobs.”

Their church has asked if the family needs help with food, “but we don’t want to take it away from others,” said Scanland. “We know how to pinch pennies when we have to.”

Cassandra Humphrey of Chicago said she began going to food giveaways to help feed her family after recently quitting a job at a drug store because she didn’t feel management was taking precautions against the virus. She feared contracting it and spreading it to others.

“No masks and people were coming to work sick,” said Humphrey, as she drove through a food distribution site Thursday on the city’s West Side. “My mother is 80 and I just wanted to make sure she was safe.”

Perhaps most troubling about the current crisis is the higher need among people of color and the surge in children going hungry, said Stacy Dean, vice president for food assistance policy at the left-leaning Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

The COVID Impact Survey found that about one-third of black Americans and Hispanic Americans said it was often or sometimes true in the past 30 days that food bought didn’t last and there was not enough money for more, compared with about 1 in 10 white Americans. Black and Hispanic Americans also were roughly twice as likely as white Americans to report feeling worried about depleting their food supply.

Some 40% of Americans in households earning less than $50,000 annually said they were at least sometimes worried about running out of food and 33% said that happened often or sometimes in the past 30 days. Americans in households with children were especially likely to report running out of food (31%) and feeling worried about that happening (36%).

“The inequities and inequalities that were preexisting have just been made worse by this whole experience,” Dean said. “It’s deeply, deeply troubling that so many … are in absolute crisis.”

When Economic Order Ends and Government Stimulus Runs-Out

[SEE: COVID-19: FORCE MAJEURE EVENT? ; 30-50% Unemployment…This Country Will Explode ]

The economic downturn is shaping up to be particularly devastating for renters, who are more likely to be lower-income and work hourly jobs cut during the pandemic.

Sandy Naffah in her apartment in Euclid, Ohio, with her dog, Shadow. Ms. Naffah is worried about eviction after losing two part-time jobs during the coronavirus pandemic.
Credit…Maddie McGarvey for The New York Times

By

EUCLID, Ohio — The United States, already wrestling with an economic collapse not seen in a generation, is facing a wave of evictions as government relief payments and legal protections run out for millions of out-of-work Americans who have little financial cushion and few choices when looking for new housing.

The hardest hit are tenants who had low incomes and little savings even before the pandemic, and whose housing costs ate up more of their paychecks. They were also more likely to work in industries where job losses have been particularly severe.

Temporary government assistance has helped, as have government orders that put evictions on hold in many cities. But evictions will soon be allowed in about half of the states, according to Emily A. Benfer, a housing expert and associate professor at Columbia Law School who is tracking eviction policies.

“I think we will enter into a severe renter crisis and very quickly,” Professor Benfer said. Without a new round of government intervention, she added, “we will have an avalanche of evictions across the country.”

That means more and more families may soon experience the dreaded eviction notice on the front door, the stomach-turning knock from sheriff’s deputies, the possessions piled up on the sidewalk. They will face displacement at a time when people are still being urged to stay at home to keep themselves and their communities safe.

That fear has been eating away at Sandy Naffah ever since she lost her income as the virus led to economic shutdowns. Ms. Naffah, who had been juggling two part-time jobs — teaching elementary school students how to read and working as a beauty consultant at a mall — quickly fell behind on the $800 she pays in rent each month for a one-bedroom apartment in Euclid, Ohio, a suburb of Cleveland.

She is now staring down a precarious future, desperately hoping that a one-off federal stimulus check and unemployment benefits — which she said she had yet to receive — will keep her afloat and stave off eviction.

“It’s a ticking clock,” she said. “I can’t continue to go on this way, otherwise I will be out on the street.”

In many places, the threat has already begun. The Texas Supreme Court recently ruled that evictions could begin again in the nation’s second-largest state. In the Oklahoma City area, sheriffs apologetically announced that they planned to start enforcing eviction notices this week. And a handful of states, like Ohio, had few statewide protections in place to begin with, leaving residents particularly vulnerable as eviction cases stacked up or ticked forward during the pandemic.

ImageMs. Naffah’s empty mailbox. She checks every day for a government stimulus check she said she had not received.
Credit…Maddie McGarvey for The New York Times

Christie Wilson, 37, was among them. After fleeing a dangerous relationship, she said, she spent several months sleeping in her car last year before a veterans program helped her pay for a two-bedroom apartment in Decatur, Ga. She had recently become responsible for the rent herself, she said, and had lined up a job at a warehouse.

But after two days on the job, she said, she was laid off as the coronavirus outbreak intensified in March.

A few weeks later, she found an eviction notice on her door. She now fears losing her apartment, where, in the fragile stability of recent months, she has enjoyed small luxuries, like listening to gospel music on her patio in the mornings and spending Mother’s Day in her own home with her teenage son.

The real estate company managing her apartment said that it had followed protocol in filing for eviction, and that employees were working with Ms. Wilson to waive fees and help connect her to nonprofit groups. If she has to move out, she worries she would end up in a homeless shelter, where preliminary testing has shown high rates of infection.

“There would be no six-feet distance — we’d be sleeping on top of each other,” said Ms. Wilson, who is racing to pay back more than $2,000 in back rent before Georgia courts reopen next month.

Though about 90 percent of renters made full or partial rent payments by late May, down only 2 percent from last year, lawyers and landlords alike fear that the trend will not last. More than 38 million people have filed jobless claims since March, including a high proportion of people living in households making less than $40,000 a year. In a survey released this month by the Census Bureau, nearly a quarter of respondents said they missed their last rent or mortgage payment or had little to no confidence that they would be able to pay on time next month.

The devastation has drawn comparisons to the Great Recession, when millions of people lost their homes during a foreclosure crisis. But this time, renters are likely to be on the front lines.

“We sort of expect this to be more of a renter crisis than a homeownership crisis,” said Elora Lee Raymond, an assistant professor at the Georgia Institute of Technology who focuses on affordable housing and real estate.

Even before the current joblessness crisis, eviction was troublingly common in American life. Researchers estimate that about 3.7 million eviction cases were filed in 2016, a year when the unemployment rate was 4.7 percent.

“Now we have 14.7 percent,” said Matthew Desmond, a sociologist at Princeton and the author of the book “Evicted,” who is leading an effort at the university’s Eviction Lab to track cases nationally. Without intervention, he said, “I don’t see how we wouldn’t have a wave of evictions.”

A $3 trillion coronavirus relief bill backed by House Democrats includes a proposal to dedicate $100 billion for rental assistance, a measure that could bring broad relief, but Republicans have criticized the package as too costly, and it is unlikely to pass in its current form.And some argue that the federal government has already intervened effectively, in the form of the stimulus checks and a $600 weekly boost to unemployment payments.

Many low-wage workers are making more money on unemployment than they were when they were working, said Ken Rosen, an economist at the University of California, Berkeley. “It’s happening, not through the housing system, but through the unemployment compensation system,” he said.

But there is a looming question about what happens next. “People may be paying their rents, but at what cost?” said Tara Raghuveer, the director of KC Tenants, an advocacy group in Kansas City, Mo. “I know several people who are taking out title loans. They are paying their rent on their credit card.”

Credit…Christopher Smith for The New York Times

Many landlords say they are working with their tenants, waiving late fees and advocating the government cover missed rent. “We are in uncharted waters,” said Tom Bannon, chief executive of the California Apartment Association, who added that most landlords were not eager to evict residents when there was little guarantee of a replacement.

Still, landlords have bills to pay, too. When tenants cannot pay their rent, landlords with mortgages remain responsible to the banks, who answer to investors. “I call it the responsibility chain,” Mr. Bannon said. “There is this link, and if there is a break in the link, the ripple effect is pretty significant.”

Among the first to face eviction have been those who were already struggling before the pandemic.

Stephen Jenkins, 64, was let go from his assembly job in January, making it difficult to pay his $900 monthly rent in Springfield, Ohio. By March, he said, his savings had run out, and he asked his landlord if he could pay late after his Social Security check came through.

His landlord, who declined to comment, filed for eviction.

In the weeks since, Mr. Jenkins said, his wife lost her hostess job at Bob Evans when restaurants shut down. They have not been able to move out as few realtors are showing homes because of the virus.

The stress is giving him health problems, and he is anxiously counting down the days until his eviction hearing, now scheduled for Wednesday.

“I haven’t slept through a night since March,” he said. “I wake up at three or four in the morning worried about what’s going to happen tomorrow.”

Why Does Trump Suddenly Want Combat Troops Home From Afghanistan By Election Day?

President Trump has repeatedly voiced a desire to leave Afghanistan sooner than the timeline laid out in the Feb. 29 peace agreement. He may want to campaign on bringing home every soldier.

American troops during a visit last year by President Trump to Bagram air base outside Kabul.
Credit…Erin Schaff/The New York Times

By Thomas Gibbons-Neff and

WASHINGTON — Senior military officials are set to brief President Trump in the coming days on options for pulling all American troops out of Afghanistan, with one possible timeline for withdrawing forces before the presidential election, according to officials with knowledge of the plans.

The proposal for a complete withdrawal by November reflects an understanding among military commanders that such a timeline may be Mr. Trump’s preferred option because it may help bolster his campaign.

But they plan to propose, and to advocate, a slower withdrawal schedule, officials said.

The move is part of the Pentagon’s attempt to avoid another situation like the one in December 2018 and again in October 2019, when Mr. Trump surprised military officials by ordering the complete withdrawal of U.S. troops from Syria. Diplomatic chaos and violence followed, and the president subsequently modified each announcement. American troops remain in Syria, although in smaller numbers.

Senior military officials believe a quick withdrawal from Afghanistan would effectively doom the peace deal reached this year with the Taliban.

In recent months, Mr. Trump has repeatedly voiced a desire to leave Afghanistan sooner than the timeline laid out in the Feb. 29 peace agreement with the Taliban, which stipulated U.S. troops would leave in 12 to 14 months if the insurgent group met certain conditions.

The Pentagon is expected to try to persuade a commander in chief who has made clear his desire to end America’s involvement in what he has criticized as “endless wars” — and who has regularly surprised the military with his decisions.

The debate also highlights the mounting difficulty facing the February agreement. Political strife, the novel coronavirus and bloody Taliban attacks have almost derailed what little progress has been made since the deal’s signing.

This article is based on conversations with five officials familiar with the debate over the troop withdrawal. The officials spoke on the condition of anonymity because the deliberations were intended to be private.

The Pentagon is set to lay out multiple options in the meeting with Mr. Trump.

One would give Mr. Trump the option of pulling all forces from the country before Election Day. But the Pentagon has other options that would withdraw forces more slowly, with one plan sticking close to the current timeline that would keep American forces in the country until May 2021.

Senior officials believe the president may be able to be persuaded that protecting the peace agreement, which his administration sponsored and supports, will require a slower drawdown of forces, to give the Taliban an incentive to reduce attacks.

Defense Department officials are also arguing to the White House that they cannot yet guarantee that Afghanistan will not again become a haven for attacks against the United States. Arguably the only clear-cut condition of the February deal, outlined in one of the secret annexes, is that the Taliban must publicly renounce the Islamic State and Al Qaeda before the full troop withdrawal begins.

There are currently fewer than 12,000 troops in Afghanistan. The U.S.-led mission in the country is in the process of drawing down to 8,600 troops as part of the February agreement. This smaller American contingent will rely heavily on Special Operations forces and joint United States-Afghan cells, known as “regional targeting teams,” that are focused on counterterrorism missions across the country.

“Any reduction under 8,600 U.S. troops will be conditions-based after the U.S. government assesses the security environment and the Taliban’s compliance with the agreement, and in coordination with our NATO allies and partners,” Lt. Col. Thomas Campbell, a Pentagon spokesman, said in a statement.

Another factor that has contributed to Mr. Trump’s desire for an early withdrawal is the coronavirus and its unchecked spread throughout Afghanistan after it crossed over the country’s western border from Iran.

The Pentagon believes that at least 50 percent of Afghan security forces most likely have the virus, meaning that any training and joint operations between United States and Afghan forces have been paused, halting a key pillar of the American war effort, especially against Islamic State enclaves in the country’s east. But airstrikes against the group still continue.

As part of the peace agreement, the U.S. military is shutting several bases. But the spread of the coronavirus has also accelerated the closing of smaller Special Operations outposts used by the elite units while operating alongside their Afghan counterparts.

In a statement on Saturday, the Taliban declared a temporary cease-fire for the three days of the Islamic festival Eid al-Fitr, which started on Sunday and marks the end of Ramadan, the holy month of daytime fasting.

The Afghan government followed, declaring a cessation of fighting even though officials had recently declared that they were restarting offensive operations after waves of Taliban attacks had killed hundreds of security forces after the February agreement. Sunday’s cease-fire is the second of the entire war. The first, widely praised on all sides and in the international community, was in 2018, also during Eid.

“This development offers the opportunity to accelerate the peace process,” Zalmay Khalilzad, the United States envoy for Afghan peace, said in a statement. “Other positive steps should immediately follow: the release of remaining prisoners as specified in the U.S.-Taliban agreement by both sides, no returning to high levels of violence, and an agreement on a new date for the start of intra-Afghan negotiations.”

The exchange of 6,000 prisoners was one of the first sticking points after the United States-Taliban deal, as it all but forced the Kabul government to release Taliban prisoners even though it was not a signatory of the agreement.

Top American officials, including Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, have pressured President Ashraf Ghani of Afghanistan to release the prisoners in the hopes that it would pave the way for the Afghan government to negotiate with the Taliban. Mr. Ghani has ordered their release in a series of groups, as has the Taliban, but after the announced cease-fire, Mr. Ghani pledged to release up to 2,000 more in an attempt to use the three-day cease-fire as a reset for a peace deal that was on the verge of falling apart.

On Tuesday, the Afghan government released 900 Taliban prisoners, the largest in one day since the slow process of prisoner release started and in what Afghan officials described a “good will” move in the hopes the cease-fire could be extended before direct negotiations.

During the closing days of the Obama administration, the Pentagon was also pressing the White House to slow its planned drawdown.

President Barack Obama had been intent on ending the long war in Afghanistan, but the military thought it precipitous. Commanders argued that removing troops would threaten what little progress had been made after years of prolonged fighting, but officials also acknowledged the pause would give the a new president time to reassess options. In October 2015, Mr. Obama halted his drawdown. Mr. Trump and America’s NATO allies ultimately added forces after the Taliban had retaken broad parts of the country.

The current plan of keeping forces in Afghanistan until May 2021 would allow Mr. Trump, if he is re-elected, to re-evaluate his decision to remove troops based on the level of Taliban violence and how well the peace agreement is working. Some American officials also say the political pressure to remove the troops could be different in a second term.

And if Mr. Trump is defeated, a new president may want to reassess whether a continued American troop presence is necessary.

Lisa Maddox, a former C.I.A. analyst, said that cutting short the deployment by only a few months might not seem like a lot, but the current situation in Afghanistan was fragile.

“It sends a message to our Afghan partners that we are running away,” she said. “Extra time allows for better turnover, which is a complicated process given the U.S. government’s involvement in supporting the country’s security and governance.”

Mujib Mashal contributed reporting from Kabul.

“It don’t have to be like this…When will it end ??”

mira01@tpg.com.au
203.219.244.252
[LINK TO THIS COMMENT]

 

Sanctions do not work.
Sanctions to prove a point ??
Sanctions to gain &/or maintain control/the status quo ??
Do not work.
They only create chaos, destroy corporate structure, financial viability, followed by poverty & mayhem.

According to the Money Lenders of the Old World: ‘Let us control the money of a nation & we care not who makes its laws.’
Here we are again, stuck in the Good Ol’ Days of Yore.

*days of yore – meaning: a time long ago when knights roamed the country side engaged in daring & romantic quests.

Like the economy of Venezuela & the economy of Iran ………..
The economy of the US is at the bottom of the pit of despair .. unbelievable numbers of unemployed persons .. US jobs GIVEN away to the Asia Pacific Region & Mexico where the wage is below subsistence levels .. while Americans struggle in a contrived poverty brought about by the greed of a few self serving, distorted & romantically inspired minds.

It don’t have to be like this.
The clown that dictate the rule of thumb need to be sacked.
When will it end ??
When will this festering malaise end ??
The waste & wanton destruction to achieve imagined victories are a sacrilege.

–[Astounding insight! It is voices like yours that could turn this national depression into an international revolution…Thanks for your input. People have to understand that it is the Depression which has long been planned, NOT THE VIRUS. The pandemic was not their objective, it was an irresistible opportunity to make the planned crash of the economy happen, in a manner which would not be blamed upon present or past administrations. In our lifetime, politicians have worked for the money masters, facilitating their plan to sabotage the economy with the plan, which was really a time-bomb, set to go off whenever the coffers of the .1% were full of the accumulated debt of the world, after DEBT had been revalued as “good as money”. The same crowd that is wailing to the heavens over dastardly China and India controlling our supply lines are the same financial/corporate monsters who conspired to close American factories and farms and to export those jobs to every possible 3rd World nation from Mongolia to Uzbekistan.
We are currently waging silent war against the people of Venezuela (and other countries) through their national economy, the very same way we destroyed the economy of Argentina in the past (as well as Guatemala and nearly every country in Central and S. America). If the people are ready to rise-up and hold them all, including all our government, accountable for the international “humanitarian” disasters they have visited upon the human race, then we must not let them waste their effort, their voices, and possibly their lives, upon the “counter-false-flag” 5G/COVID DISTRACTION. All those who are attempting to steer the mob into a storm of anger, based upon these unproven, illogical conspiracy theories, instead of upon the proven historical record of plans being made for the crash in the past, are missing the boat and sinking the fate of any possible national or international resistance.–Peter]

The Covid Death Toll In Brazil Is Undeniable

Image made with a drone of the Vila Formosa cemetery in São Paulo (Brazil) where open and closed tombs can be seen during the pandemic. Throughout Latin America, more than 37,500 people have died and some 681,000 covid-19 infections have been registered.Image made with a drone of the Vila Formosa cemetery in São Paulo (Brazil) where open and closed tombs can be seen during the pandemic. Throughout Latin America, more than 37,500 people have died and some 681,000 covid-19 infections have been registered.

The largest burial ground in Latin America, Sao Paulo’s Vila Formosa cemetery, is preparing for an increase in deaths related to the coronavirus outbreak in Brazil. Drone footage recorded on Thursday shows the cemetery’s expansion work. Excavators can be seen digging hundreds of new graves, forming large rows of tombs. The city’s mayor, Bruno Covas, announced that 13,000 new graves would be prepared in the municipal cemeteries on Thursday of last week. According to reports, the plan is to dig 8,000 new tombs in the Vila Formosa cemetery, while in the Vila Nova Cachoerinha and Sao Luis cemeteries some 5,000 will be opened. According to data from the Brazilian Health Ministry, Sao Paulo is the most affected state with 26,158 cases of COVID-19 and 2,247 related deaths. In total, 81,329 cases and 5,628 deaths have been reported in the country to date. Video ID: 20200430-051 Video on Demand: https://ruptly.tv/videos/20200430-051 Contact: cd@ruptly.tv Twitter: http://twitter.com/Ruptly

One Iranian Tanker In Venezuelan Waters, While 4 More Watch From African Coast

First Iranian tanker crosses into Venezuela’s economic zone as US ships spotted nearby – tracking data

The first of five Iranian tankers carrying fuel to Venezuela has entered the nation’s exclusive economic zone, tracking data shows. Earlier, Tehran threatened the US with retaliation for interfering with the vessels’ passage.

marinetraffic.com

Iranian-flagged oil tanker ‘Fortune’ reached Venezuela’s EEC (Exclusive Economic Zone) late on Saturday, vessel tracking data from Refinitiv Eikon suggests.

As it heads into Venezuela’s territorial waters, it appears the tanker is being closely followed by a The Fortune, tailed by US cargo ship, the Adam Joseph.

Hashtag #GraciasIran [Thank you, Iran] has been launched on Twitter to mark the occasion, with netizens hailing the cooperation between Tehran and Caracas in defiance of the de facto naval blockade by the US.

‘Fortune’ is followed by the other four Iranian tankers


the Clavel

the Forest

the Faxon

and the Petunia

–all en route to Venezuela’s shores. The vessels are expected to deliver a total of about 1.5 million barrels of oil to Caracas. Despite boasting the world’s largest proven oil reserves, the country has been struggling to cover its domestic supply needs, with its energy industry ravaged by crippling US sanctions.

Order From Pecherskyi District Court Of Kyiv Names “Joseph Biden” In Victor Shokin Complaint

Latest twist in Ukraine impeachment drama could stretch into Biden’s fall campaign as fired prosecutor seeks legal remedy in courts.

Joe Biden lays out coronavirus plan
Joe Biden lays out coronavirus plan.

 

The infamous story of Joe Biden’s effort to force the firing of Ukraine’s chief prosecutor in 2016 has taken a new legal twist in Kiev, just as the former vice president is sewing up the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination in America.

In Kiev late last month, District Court Judge S. V. Vovk ordered the country’s law enforcement services to formally list the fired prosecutor, Victor Shokin, as the victim of an alleged crime by the former U.S. vice president, according to an official English translation of the ruling obtained by Just the News.

The court had previously ordered the Prosecutor General’s Office and the State Bureau of Investigations in February to investigate Shokin’s claim that he was fired in spring 2016 under pressure from Biden because he was investigating Burisma Holdings, the natural gas company where Biden’s son Hunter worked.

The court ruled then that there was adequate evidence to investigate Shokin’s claim that Biden’s pressure on then-President Petro Poroshenko, including a threat to withhold $1 billion in U.S. loan guarantees, amounted to unlawful interference in Shokin’s work as Ukraine’s chief prosecutor.

But when law enforcement agencies opened the probe they refused to name Biden as the alleged perpetrator of the crime, instead listing the potential defendant as an unnamed American.

Vovk ruled that anonymous listing was improper and ordered the law enforcement agencies to formally name Biden as the accused perpetrator.

The ruling orders “a competent person of the Office of the Prosecutor General of Ukraine who conducts procedural management in criminal proceedings No. 62020000000000236 dated February 24, 2020 to enter information into the Unified register of pre-trial investigations … a summary of facts that may indicate the commission of a criminal offense under Paragraph 2 of Article 343 of the Criminal procedure code of Ukraine on criminal proceedings No. 62020000000000236 dated February 24, 2020, namely: information on interference in the activities of the former Prosecutor General of Ukraine Shokin, Viktor Mykolaiovych performed by citizen of the United States of America Joseph Biden, former U.S. Vice President.”

The judge added, “the order of the court may not be appealed.”

 

Shokin’s attorney, Oleksandr Ivanovych Teleshetskyi, confirmed the ruling to Just the News but said Ukraine officials have not yet complied.

“Viktor Shokin publicly appealed to the president of Ukraine with a request to properly respond to illegal inaction in the investigation of criminal cases that are open against Joseph Biden,” Teleshetskyi said. “Let me remind you that they were discovered precisely as a result of the statement of Viktor Shokin.”

The Biden-Shokin saga has dominated headlines for more than a year, and played a central role in the Democrat-led impeachment proceedings that ended earlier this year with President Trump’s acquittal in the Senate.

Biden has admitted on videotape he forced then-Ukraine President Poroshenko to fire Shokin in March 2016 by threatening to withhold $1 billion in U.S. loan guarantees. But Biden has steadfastly denied Shokin’s firing was due to the Burisma case. Instead, Biden said, he and other Western leaders believed Shokin was ineffective as a corruption fighter.

Shokin, however, has alleged in a court affidavit he was told he was fired because he refused to stand down his investigation of alleged corruption by Burisma and after he planned to call Hunter Biden as a witness to question him about millions of dollars in payments his American firm received from the Ukraine gas company.

Shokin has also disputed Democrats’ claims he was fired because he was incompetent or corrupt, producing among other pieces of evidence a letter from the U.S. State Department in summer 2015 that praised his anti-corruption plan as Ukraine’s chief prosecutor.

While the Biden-Shokin factual dispute remains unresolved, the impeachment trial last year generated testimony from State Department witnesses who said they believed Hunter Biden’s role at Burisma while his father oversaw U.S.-Ukraine policy created an uncomfortable appearance of a conflict of interest.

Both Bidens have denied wrongdoing but acknowledged they wished they had handled the matter differently.

Shokin’s continued pursuit of a case in the Ukraine courts could prompt new disclosures this summer as Biden readies for the fall election against Trump.

On Tuesday, a Ukraine parliamentary member released what he said were excerpts of phone calls between Poroshenko and Biden discussing Shokin’s firing, but neither man has confirmed their authenticity yet.

In an interview, Shokin told Just the News he is confident he can unearth evidence during the proceedings that Ukraine officials were satisfied with his performance and simply acceded to firing him to avoid losing the badly needed U.S. loan guarantees.

ID2020 Relies Upon Biometric Fingerprints and Light-Reflecting Quantum Dots, NOT RFID Chips

[SEE: SIMPRINTS, Quantom Dots

“To create an “on-patient,” decentralized medical record, the researchers developed a new type of copper-based quantum dots, which emit light in the near-infrared spectrum. The dots are only about 4 nanometers in diameter”]

ID2020 and partners launch program to provide digital ID with vaccines

ID2020 and partners launch program to provide digital ID with vaccines

The ID2020 Alliance has launched a new digital identity program at its annual summit in New York, in collaboration with the Government of Bangladesh, vaccine alliance Gavi, and new partners in government, academia, and humanitarian relief.

The program to leverage immunization as an opportunity to establish digital identity was unveiled by ID2020 in partnership with the Bangladesh Government’s Access to Information (a2i) Program, the Directorate General of Health Services, and Gavi, according to the announcement.

Digital identity is a computerized record of who a person is, stored in a registry. It is used, in this case, to keep track of who has received vaccination.

“We are implementing a forward-looking approach to digital identity that gives individuals control over their own personal information, while still building off existing systems and programs,” says Anir Chowdhury, policy advisor at a2i. “The Government of Bangladesh recognizes that the design of digital identity systems carries far-reaching implications for individuals’ access to services and livelihoods, and we are eager to pioneer this approach.”

Gavi CEO Seth Berkley says that 89 percent of children and adolescents who do not have identification live in countries where the organization is active. “We are enthusiastic about the potential impact of this program not just in Bangladesh, but as something we can replicate across Gavi-eligible countries, providing a viable route to closing the identity gap,” he says.

A partnership was also formed earlier this year between Gavi, NEC, and Simprints to use biometrics to improve vaccine coverage in developing nations.

“Digital ID is being defined and implemented today, and we recognize the importance of swift action to close the identity gap,” comments ID2020 Executive Director Dakota Gruener. “Now is the time for bold commitments to ensure that we respond both quickly and responsibly. We and our ID2020 Alliance partners, both present and future, are committed to rising to this challenge.”

ID2020 also announced new partnerships and provided progress reports on initiatives launched last year. Since last year’s summit, the ID2020 Alliance has been joined by the City of Austin, UC Berkeley’s CITRIS Policy Lab and Care USA.

The City of Austin, ID2020, and several other partners are working together with homeless people and the service providers who engage with them to develop a blockchain-enabled digital identity platform called MyPass to empower homeless people with their own identity data.

A pair of inaugural pilot programs launched last year in partnership with iRespond and Everest have each made progress, ID2020 says. The iRespond program has improved continuity of care for more than 3,000 refugees receiving treatment for chronic conditions from the International Rescue Committee in Thailand, according to the announcement, while Everest has assisted with the provision of access to critical energy subsidies and a range of additional services with secure and user-centric digital identities without relying on a smartphone.

This post was updated at 4:58pm on March 26, 2020 to clarify that the program is intended to allow people to receive vaccination and prove they have received it, not to track individuals, as claimed by some conspiracy theorists.

Virus researchers uncover new evidence implying COVID-19 was created in a lab. 

EXCLUSIVE: Virus researchers uncover new evidence implying COVID-19 was created in a lab. 

 

Preliminary study results suggest virus was produced in lab cultures using human cells.

Featured Image
A clinical support technician extracts viruses from swab samples so that the genetic structure of a virus can be analysed and identified in the coronavirus testing laboratory at Glasgow Royal Infirmary, on February 19, 2020 in Glasgow, Scotland.Jane Barlow – WPA Pool/Getty Images

By Matthew Cullinan Hoffman

May 16, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – A team of Australian scientists has produced new evidence that the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19 is optimized for penetration into human cells rather than animal cells, undermining the theory that the virus randomly evolved in an animal subject before passing into human beings, and suggesting instead that it was developed in a laboratory.

The study, which has not yet been peer reviewed, provides new but not yet conclusive evidence favoring the theory that the novel coronavirus originated not in a food market as has been claimed, but rather in a laboratory, presumably one operated by the Wuhan Institute of Virology in Wuhan, China, the city in which the first outbreak of COVID-19 occurred in December of 2019.

The lead researcher on the team says that the results represent either “a remarkable coincidence or a sign of human intervention” in the creation of the virus.

The authors of the study, led by vaccine researcher Nikolai Petrovsky of Flinders University in Australia, used a version of the novel coronavirus collected in the earliest days of the outbreak and applied computer models to test its capacity to bind to certain cell receptor enzymes, called “ACE2,” that allow the virus to infect human and animal cells to varying degrees of efficacy.

They tested the propensity of the COVID-19 virus’s spike protein, which it uses to enter cells, to bind to the human type of ACE2 as well as to many different animal versions of ACE2, and found that the novel coronavirus most powerfully binds with human ACE2, and with variously lesser degrees of effectiveness with animal versions of the receptor.

According to the study’s authors, this implies that the virus that causes COVID-19 did not come from an animal intermediary, but became specialized for human cell penetration by living previously in human cells, quite possibly in a laboratory.

The authors write that “this finding is particularly surprising as, typically, a virus would be expected to have highest affinity for the receptor in its original host species, e.g. bat, with a lower initial binding affinity for the receptor of any new host, e.g. humans. However, in this case, the affinity of SARS-CoV-2 is higher for humans than for the putative original host species, bats, or for any potential intermediary host species.”

As a consequence, they add, a “possibility which still cannot be excluded is that SARSCoV-2 was created by a recombination event that occurred inadvertently or consciously in a laboratory handling coronaviruses, with the new virus then accidentally released into the local human population.”

In a separate public statement about the research made by Prof. Petrovsky on April 17, the researcher notes that the results of his study are either “a remarkable coincidence or a sign of human intervention,” and adds that it is “entirely plausible that the virus was created in the biosecurity facility in Wuhan by selection on cells expressing human ACE2, a laboratory that was known to be cultivating exotic bat coronaviruses at the time.”

“If so the cultured virus could have escaped the facility either through accidental infection of a staff member who then visited the fish market several blocks away and there infected others, or by inappropriate disposal of waste from the facility that either infected humans outside the facility directly or via a susceptible vector such as a stray cat that then frequented the market and resulted in transmission there to humans,” he added.

The researchers recognize that other possibilities exist, but regard them as improbable. They found that the novel coronavirus has a strong, but lesser binding effect on the ACE2 receptor of Pangolins, which are mammals eaten in China as a delicacy which has often been proposed as the intermediary of the novel coronavirus between bats and humans. However, they note that the Pangolin doesn’t offer a reasonable candidate for an intermediate species for human transmission, because “given the higher affinity of [the novel coronavirus] SARS-CoV-2 for human ACE2 than for bat ACE2, SARS-CoV-2 would have to have circulated in pangolins for a long period of time for this evolution and selection to occur and to date there is no evidence of a SARS-CoV-2 like virus circulating in pangolins.”

A preliminary form of the study, which is currently entitled, “In silico comparison of spike protein-ACE2 binding affinities across species; significance for the possible origin of the SARS-CoV-2 virus,” has been published on a repository site maintained by Cornell University, which warns that studies published prior to peer review should not be considered “established information” unless multiple experts in a given field are first consulted.

According to his university webpage, in addition to his work as a university professor, Professor Petrovsky is currently Director of Endocrinology at Flinders Medical Centre of Flinders University, and Vice President and Secretary-General of the International Immunomics Society. He is also the founder of Vaxine Pty Ltd., which is funded by the U.S. National Institutes of Health and is currently working on a COVID-19 vaccine.

In addition to Professor Petrovsky, the research team that produced the study includes Prof. Sakshi Piplani, also of Flinders University, Puneet Kumar Singh, who works with Petrovsky and Piplani at Vaxine Pty Ltd., and Prof. David A. Winkler, who teaches at the University of Nottingham in the U.K and Monash University in Australia.

Study contradicts scientists who claim “zero evidence” for lab origin of virus

The results of the study tend to contradict virologists who have claimed that the novel coronavirus shows no signs of having been produced in a laboratory, some of whom have gone so far as to dismiss such theories as “conspiracy theories.” The “conspiracy theory” claim has been uncritically echoed in much, but not all, of the international media. The staff of the Wuhan Institute of Virology have repeatedly denied the virus came from their lab.

Their position has been supported by a widely-referenced letter from several scientists published in Nature Medicine on March 17, which argues against the likelihood of a laboratory generating the virus in a human cell lab culture.

The argument made by the researchers in the letter is mostly based on the claim that no genetically-close progenitor to the novel coronavirus that could be a candidate for such a process has been described in any scientific study. They also assert that “repeated passage” of coronaviruses in cell cultures have not been mentioned in scientific literature.

However, the letter’s authors do not address the possibility that the Wuhan Institute of Virology researchers simply did not report all of their research to the public, a possibility that seems to have been reinforced in recent months by secrecy and cover-ups regarding COVID-19 research in China, and the repeated refusal of the Chinese government to participate in an international probe of the origins of the novel coronavirus.

Unless an animal version of virus is found, evidence points to “human intervention”

Professor Petrovsky told LifeSite in an email interview that his study indicates that “there are some highly unusual features, including optimal human adaptation, that in the absence of identification of a close to identical virus in an animal population from which COVID19 could have arisen, would point in the direction of human intervention at some point in the evolution of COVID19.”

He noted that, so far, researchers in China and elsewhere have not produced evidence of the presence in animals of a virus closely similar to the one that causes COVID-19 in humans, which would give credence to their theory of natural development in an intermediary between bats, which presumably originated the virus, and humans.

“If an animal vector and virus could be found then of course this would resolve the matter completely,” Petrovksy told LifeSite. “One would have thought that the Chinese would be intensively sampling all conceivable animals trying to find such a virus to exonerate their labs. If no such intense search is going on (which I don’t know one way or the other) then the inference could be that they are not looking because they already know what they might find.”

Richard Ebright, a molecular biologist at Rutgers University who has been critical of laboratory studies that might produce new pathogens dangerous to humans, told LifeSite that Petrovsky’s results “are plausible,” but cautioned that the results of the pre-print of the study “are from computational modelling, not from experiments, and therefore must be considered as provisional at best.”

Ebright noted that an earlier study on ACE2 receptor binding found that a bat coronavirus similar to the COVID-19 virus had strong binding power with the ACE2 of tree shrews and ferrets, making them possible animal intermediary candidates. However, the study did not compare the binding power of the virus’ animal species’ ACE2 receptors with the binding power with humans, as does Petrovsky’s study. Moreover, it did not use a gene sequence from an early version of the novel coronavirus itself, as does Petrovsky’s study, but rather used the gene sequence of a similar bat coronavirus reported by the Wuhan Institute of Virology, called RaTG13.

Ebright told LifeSite that he believes that multiple physical experiments that will ultimately determine if the novel coronavirus is optimized for binding with human cells are “probably underway in multiple locations,” although he did not cite any specific studies.

What is needed, according to Prof. Petrovsky, is a thorough international investigation into the true cause of the COVID-19 outbreak, something the Chinese government has repeatedly refused.

“Whilst the facts cannot be known at this time, the nature of this event and its proximity to a high-risk biosecurity facility at the epicentre of the outbreak demands a full and independent international enquiry to ascertain whether a virus of this kind of COVID-19 was being cultured in the facility and might have been accidentally released,” wrote Petrovsky on April 17.

Contact the author at mhoffman@lifesitenews.com.

FYI–False claim about early-years vaccines spreading on social media

A post shared tens of thousands of times on Facebook claims that a list of 26 substances, some said to be “carcinogenic” or “toxic,” will be administered to children six years old and younger through vaccination. The claim is false. Although some of the ingredients listed do feature in children’s vaccines, the doses involved are not toxic, pass through the body and ensure the reliability of the vaccination, according to health experts.

The post, shared more than 20,000 times in English on Facebook in May 2020, lists 26 substances, claiming: “In the first six years of life your child receives the following”. The list is posted alongside a picture of a baby doll with 20 medical syringes injected into it. The claim also circulated in French and Dutch.

Contrary to what is claimed in the post, the listed substances are not toxic, lethal or carcinogenic when used in small doses. Health Canada points out that vaccines may contain “minute amounts of chemicals that are used during the production process, such as for the growth or purification of specific antigens or the inactivation of toxins.”

Here are some specific examples where specialists examined the individual ingredients and found the doses are too small to be toxic.

Formaldehyde

The post questions the use of “801.6 mcg (micrograms) formaldehyde (carcinogen, embalming agent)” in vaccines.

According to Health Canada, formaldehyde is “used to inactivate viruses and protein toxins” in the production stage of the vaccine.

Although the dosage in the post is roughly correct, the implication of its risks is misleading.

“Children are exposed to many of these ingredients at a far higher dose through other natural sources,” Dr Natasha Crawcroft, Director of the Centre for Vaccine Preventable Diseases at the University of Toronto told AFP via email. “For example, pears include 50 times more formaldehyde than any vaccine.”

This is confirmed by the University of Oxford’s Vaccine Knowledge Project: “The amount of natural formaldehyde in a two-month-old infant’s blood (around 1.1 milligrams in total) is 10 times greater than the amount found in any vaccine (less than 0.1 milligrams).”

It is also incorrect to describe the dosage of formaldehyde in vaccines as an “embalming agent.”

“To embalm a body you need something like 6-10 liter of formaldehyde – it’s nothing at all like the tiny amounts in vaccines,” Crawford said.

Potassium chloride

The post also claims that a vaccinated child receives “116 mcg potassium chloride (used in a lethal injection)”. Potassium chloride is a potassium salt.

“One aspect that is not made clear is the importance of dose. Everything including water can be lethal if given in too large a dose, but can at the same time be essential for life at the right dose. This is true of potassium and sodium chloride, for example,” Crawcroft said.

Professor Francois Chast, Honorary President of France’s National Academy of Pharmacy told AFP: “A dangerous dose would be over 1 to 2 grams; 116 mcg is a dose 10,000 times smaller than that.”

Chast also explained that lethal injections are administered intravenously. “Vaccines are not injected into a vein.”

Potassium phosphate & sodium bicarbonate

The use of “potassium phosphate” and “sodium bicarbonate” are also questioned by the post. Additives such as potassium or sodium salts are used in vaccines and medication to “help control product acidity (pH) and maintain the quality of vaccine antigens,” according to Health Canada.

Antibiotics

The post also condemns the use of “antibiotics” in vaccines.

These antibiotics are used at the production stage of the vaccine “to prevent contamination during viral cell culture,” according to Health Canada.

These products are excipients, or inactive ingredients used to help preserve medications and vaccines and to facilitate their administration.

These excipients are very quickly eliminated by the body and do not accumulate in a child’s body over time.

The University of Oxford’s Vaccine Knowledge Project adds that “antibiotics which commonly cause allergic reactions (such as penicillins, cephalosporins and sulphonamides) are not used in vaccines.”

Aluminum

The post criticises the use of “5,700 mcg aluminum” which it describes as “neurotoxin.”

This substance is used as an adjuvant. According to Health Canada, these allow a “reduction in the amount of antigen per dose or the total number of doses needed to achieve immunity,” meaning that without them, patients might require much larger or more doses for the vaccines to be effective.

The University of Oxford adds: “the amount of aluminium present in vaccines is small — less than 2 milligrams of the salts, and less than a milligram of actual aluminium.”

This Health Canada study concluded that a toddler between the ages of six months and fouryears ingests over 1.5 milligrams of aluminum through normal consumption of drinking water, food, beverages, air and soil in the space of three days.

Gelatin and polysorbate 80

The post lists “23,250 mcg gelatin (ground up animal carcass)” and “Over 560 mcg polysorbate 80 (carcinogen)” as being present in the vaccines.

The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention in the United States states that gelatin is used “to keep the vaccine effective” after it is manufactured.

Gelatin is commonly consumed by “eating food such as Jell-O” and it “resides in the body naturally”.

Polysorbate 80 is “a common food additive used in several vaccines as an emulsifier (to hold other ingredients together),” according to the University of Oxford. “Compared to its use in foods, there is very little polysorbate 80 in vaccines.”

Vaccine schedule

The list is posted with a picture of a doll being injected with 20 medical syringes. These are alleged to represent “how many vaccines a child receives by age two”.

This is an exaggeration. Canada does not have national mandatory vaccination, with Ontario and New Brunswick being the only provinces requiring them for a child to attend school.

Following the recommended vaccination schedule, in Canada a child would receive eight vaccines, in the United States they would receive 10, up to the age of two. Half as many as suggested in the post.

Vaccine ingredients are a regular source of misinformation. AFP Fact Check has also investigated misleading posts about the flu shot and the ingredient thimerosal.

CIA’s Man In Libya, Gen. Haftar, Threatens To Attack Turkish Troops w/New Russian Planes

Libya’s Interior Minister: Russia sent new fighter jets to Haftar

Libyan Army to launch largest air campaign in country’s history against Turkish military

UN envoy: Libya will sue UAE in international courts

Turkey began sending troops to Libya in January to shore up the UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA). Before that, Ankara provided the GNA with military equipment to assist Tripoli in its ongoing campaign against the Tobruk-based government and the Libyan National Army (LNA) of Gen. Khalifa Haftar.

Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman Hami Aksoy has warned that there would be serious consequences for Gen. Haftar’s forces if the Libyan National Army attacked Turkish troops operating in Libya.

“We emphasize once again that in the case of striking our interest in Libya – doing so would lead to serious consequences, and we will consider Haftar’s forces a legitimate target for attack,” Aksoy said, speaking to reporters on Thursday.

Aksoy’s comments came in the wake of remarks by Libyan National Army Air Force commander Saqr al-Jaroushi earlier in the day warning that “the largest aerial campaign in Libyan history” would be launched “in the coming hours” targeting Turkish forces.

“All Turkish targets in occupied areas of Libya are legitimate targets for the LNA’s fighter planes. We assure our people that we will defend them with all means available to us until we kill the enemy or perish on our own land,” al-Jaroushi was quoted as saying, adding that civilians are urged to stay away from these sites.

“This is the last time we are warning those deceived persons who have joined the ranks of the [GNA] militias: surrender or be annihilated, and there won’t even be anything left of their bodies to bury,” the officer warned.

Commenting on the remarks, Aksoy suggested it was “noteworthy that this statement was made after new military aircraft were deployed in eastern Libya through external support.”

Last week, Fathi Bashagha, minister of interior in the GNA government, alleged that at least eight jet fighters, including six MiG-29s and two Sukhoi Su-24s, were delivered to Libya from Syria. Damascus established diplomatic relations with the Tobruk-based government earlier this year, promising, among other things, to cooperate against a “common Turkish threat” to both countries. Syrian authorities have not commented on the fighter jet claims.

In this photo released by the Syrian official news agency SANA, Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem, third right, meets with officials from Libya's east-based government, in Damascus, Syria, Sunday, March 1, 2020.
© PHOTO : SYRIAN ARAB NEWS AGENCY
In this photo released by the Syrian official news agency SANA, Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem, third right, meets with officials from Libya’s east-based government, in Damascus, Syria, Sunday, March 1, 2020.

According to Aksoy, al-Jaroushi’s comments were “another reflection of the heavy losses that Haftar’s forces have suffered recently, and demonstrate their intention to increase tensions in Libya.”

Also on Thursday, a senior Turkish official was quoted by Bloomberg as saying that Turkey had enough firepower concentrated in Libya to protect its bases using drones and warships off Tripoli.

The escalation of tensions between Tobruk and Ankara comes less than a day after a telephone conversation between Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and his Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu in which the diplomats reiterated the need for an immediate cessation of hostilities in the Libyan conflict and a resumption of peace talks under the auspices of the UN.

On Wednesday, a Russian Foreign Ministry source told Sputnik that Moscow supports any initiative aimed at stopping the fighting in Libya, and expects the parties to cease operations at least for the period of the Eid al-Fitr Muslim holiday, running from mid-to-late May.

Conflict in Libya

Libya, once one of the safest and most prosperous countries in Africa, has been mired in a deadly, nine year+ long conflict since the 2011 overthrow and murder of long-time leader Muammar Gaddafi by rebels backed by NATO airpower. After that, the North African nation was divided among warring militants, terrorist groups, criminal gangs and human smugglers. More recently, the Tobruk-based parliament, which enjoys the support of the Libyan National Army, and the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord consolidated themselves as the two main political and military powers in the war-torn country, and have each sought to establish control of all of Libya ever since. In April 2019, the LNA began an offensive on Tripoli, advancing into the city’s suburbs. However, in January 2020, Turkey deployed a limited contingent of combat troops to stop the advance and push Haftar’s forces out of the city. Multiple international efforts to resolve the conflict through peace talks have so far been fruitless. The latest such conference took place in Berlin in January, with Russia, the United States, the European Union, Turkey, Egypt and other nations attempting to press the GNA and the LNA to reach a lasting ceasefire, while agreeing in principle on the need to keep third parties out of the conflict.

US Headed For Another ‘Tanker War’ With Iran–This Time Off Venezuela’s Coast

US Headed For Another ‘Tanker War’ With Iran – This Time Off Venezuela’s Coast

US Threatens to Prevent Iranian-Venezuelan Mutual Assistance

Iran oil shipment: Venezuelan military to escort fuel tankers

Venezuela says its military will escort five Iranian tankers, bringing oil to ease severe shortages.

A new standoff could be brewing between the United States, Iran and Venezuela, over a shipment of millions of dollars of fuel. Five Iranian oil tankers are just days away from arriving in Venezuela to help ease fuel shortages there. Venezuela’s own oil refining industry collapsed; critics say that was because of underinvestment and mismanagement. Al Jazeera’s Alexi O’Brien reports.

 

SEE:

US Preparing Panama-Style Invasion of Venezuela?

Trump Making His Move On Venezuela Under Cover of National Emergency

Are Guyana Mega-Oil Finds the Real Reason For the Aggression Against Venezuela?

US/Dutch Air Bases Off Venezuelan Coast

Venezuela Agreed To Let Russia Set Up A Bomber Outpost On This Caribbean Island: Reports

Russia sends more than 100 troops to Venezuela

US Gov’t Document Confirms “Economic Warfare” Plan For Looting Venezuela

Trump Starts Regime Change War In S. America, By Giving Notorious Repub/Neocon War Criminal Elliot Abrams the Job of Venezuelan Dissection

The U.S. Set To Invade Venezuela!

National Covid-19 Testing Action Plan–Rockefeller Foundation Document

US plan is militarized population control

The Rockefeller Foundation presented the “National Action Plan for the Control of Covid-19”, indicating “pragmatic steps to reopen workplaces and communities”
edit

 

247 – The Italian journalist and geographer Manlio Dinucci comments on the American plan and says: “These are not, as it appears in the title, just sanitary measures”.

The journalist argues that the “plan – to which some of the most prestigious universities (Harvard, Yale, Johns Hopkins and others) contributed – foreshadows a true hierarchical and militarized social model”, writes in Il Manifesto.

“At the top of that plan is the Pandemic Control Council, analogous to the War Production Council that the United States created in World War II.”

“It would be composed of business, government and academic leaders” (listed in order of importance, with government officials, but not finance and economics in the front row). This Supreme Council would have the power to decide productions and services, with an authority analogous to that conferred on the President of the United States in time of war by the Defense Production Act. The plan calls for the Covid-19 test to be performed weekly on 3 million U.S. citizens and for that number to rise to 30 million a week in six months. The goal, to be achieved in one year, is to reach the capacity to test 30 million people a day “.

For each test, “adequate reimbursement at a market price of US $ 100” is envisaged. Therefore, “billions of dollars a month” in public money will be needed.

“The Rockefeller Foundation and its financial partners will help create a network for the provision of credit guarantees and the signing of contracts with suppliers, that is, with large companies producing medicines and medical equipment. According to the Plan, the Board of Directors Pandemic Control is also authorized to create a Pandemic Response Corps: a special force (not accidentally called ‘Corps’ like that of the Marines) with a team of 100 to 300,000 members, who would be recruited from Peace Corps and Americorps volunteers (officially created by the US government to ‘help developing countries’) and National Guard soldiers.

“Members of the ‘Pandemic Response Corps’ would receive an average gross salary of $ 40,000 per year, for which public spending is estimated at $ 4 to 12 billion per year. The ‘Pandemic Response Corps’ would, above all, the task of controlling the population with military-type techniques, through systems of digital identification and tracking, in work and study places, in residential areas, in public places and on the move. Rockefeller – are produced by Apple, Google and Facebook “.

“According to the Plan, information about individuals, related to their health status and activities, would be preserved ‘as much as possible’. However, all of them are centralized on a digital platform sent jointly by the Federal State and companies. private.

“Based on data provided by the ‘Pandemic Control Council’, it would be decided, in turn, which areas would be subject to containment and for how long. This is, in summary, the plan that the Rockefeller Foundation wants to operate in the United States and elsewhere. If partially achieved, there would be an additional concentration of economic and political power in the hands of even smaller elites, to the detriment of a growing majority that would be deprived of basic democratic rights. “

“Operation performed in the name of ‘Covid-19 control’, whose mortality rate, according to official data, has so far been less than 0.03% of the American population. In the Rockefeller Foundation Plan, the virus is used as a real weapon, even more dangerous than the coronavirus itself “.

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Leaked Tape Proves Biden Threatened Ukrainian Pres. Poroshenko To Fire Burisma Prosecutor, Or Lose $1 Billion In Aid

In his own words, with video cameras rolling, Biden described how he threatened Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko in March 2016 that the Obama administration would pull $1 billion in U.S. loan guarantees, sending the former Soviet republic toward insolvency, if it didn’t immediately fire Prosecutor General Viktor Shokin.

“I said, ‘You’re not getting the billion.’ I’m going to be leaving here in, I think it was about six hours. I looked at them and said: ‘I’m leaving in six hours. If the prosecutor is not fired, you’re not getting the money,'” Biden recalled telling Poroshenko.

“I’m a man of my word. And now that the new prosecutor general is in place, we’re ready to move forward to signing that new $1 billion loan guarantee.”–Biden

Recording of calls between Joe Biden, ex-Ukraine President Poroshenko leaked

Leaked phone conversations between Joe Biden and then-Ukraine President Petro Poroshenko have been made public by a Ukrainian lawmaker.

Edited recordings of the calls were played at a news conference Tuesday in Kiev by Andriy Derkach, who has claimed he has proof showing that Burisma Holdings, the Ukrainian natural gas company that employed Biden’s son Hunter Biden, paid then-Vice President Joe Biden $900,000 in lobbying fees.

Details of the conversations between Biden and Poroshenko have been previously reported.

Derkach said he received the leaked audio from “investigative journalists” — and that the recordings were made by Poroshenko himself.

Audio of the calls with English subtitles was later posted on YouTube.

In one conversation, Biden and Poroshenko discuss the aftermath of Ukrainian Prosecutor General Viktor Shokin’s ouster and the appointment of his replacement.

Joe Biden
Joe BidenMatt Rourke/AP

“It’s going to be critical for him to work quickly to repair the damage that Shokin did,” Biden said in the call. “And I’m a man of my word. And now that the new prosecutor general is in place, we’re ready to move forward to signing that new $1 billion loan guarantee.”

At the time, Biden was publicly pushing for reform of the prosecutor general’s office. Last year, Biden said he told Poroshenko that Ukraine would not receive the $1 billion unless Shokin was booted.

The released recordings do not mention Hunter Biden or Burisma.

Derkach, a former member of the pro-Russia Party of Regions, has pushed for a corruption case against the Bidens. He and Rudy Giuliani, President Trump’s personal attorney, met in Kiev in December.

Derkach has previously claimed Biden pressured Ukraine in December 2015 to force Shokin’s resignation and dangled $1 billion in loan guarantees as an incentive.

Biden’s campaign responded to the release of the recording, claiming it was part of an ongoing effort by the Russians to hurt Biden.

“They heavily edited this, and it’s still a nothingburger that landed with a thud,” Biden spokesman Andrew Bates told the Washington Post.

Biden’s campaign didn’t immediately return a message from the New York Post.

Former Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko
Former Ukrainian President Petro PoroshenkoMykhailo Markiv/Ukrainian Presidential Press Service/Handout via Reuters

Trump and others have alleged Biden pushed for Shokin’s removal because Shokin was investigating Burisma.

Poroshenko’s political party, European Solidarity, said the release of the recordings was designed to drag Ukraine — a longtime US ally — into the US’ 2020 presidential election.

Welcome to the Global Rebellion Against Neoliberalism

Welcome to the Global Rebellion Against Neoliberalism

As distinct as the protests seem, the uprisings rocking Bolivia, Lebanon, and scores of other countries all have a common theme.

But they are, and it’s getting louder. Last week you could hear the banging in Colombia—in Bogotá, Cali, Cartagena, Barranquilla, Medellín, a curfew declared, the army in the streets—and the week before that in Iran, a steady beat that quickly spread to more than 100 cities. At least 100 protesters have been killed so far. It’s hard to know if there were more, or exactly what is going on: The government shut off the Internet on the protests’ second day. But even when there’s a steady connection, it’s hard to put it all together: Protests have been roiling through AlgeriaBoliviaChileColombiaEcuadorEgyptFranceGermanyGuineaHaitiHondurasHong KongIndiaIndonesia, Iran, IraqLebanon, the Netherlands, Spain, Sudan, the UK, and Zimbabwe—I’m sure I’m leaving someplace out—and that’s only since September. Some have been the fleeting, routine sort that snarls up traffic for a day. Others look more like revolutions, big enough to topple governments, shut down entire nations.

On the face of it, there appears to be little that unites them. In Iran, the announcement of a 50 percent hike in fuel prices set it off. In Germany, the Netherlands, and France, farmers blocked highways to protest environmental regulations. The outrage that has been shaking Hong Kong since June started with proposed legislation that would have allowed extraditions to mainland China. In Chile the spark was a hike in the cost of public transportation, in Indonesia an oppressive crime bill, in Lebanon the announcement of new taxes on everything from gasoline to WhatsApp calls.

Some of these movements have been organized by unions or formal opposition parties, but many are of the horizontal, leaderless sort. (“Be like water,” as the Hong Kong protesters put it, channeling Bruce Lee.) No overarching revolutionary ideology unites them. No vanguard party is rushing to the front. The single left-right axis on which the world was split for most of the last century is no longer always helpful. Right-wingers, and the United States government, have cheered the democratic aspirations of demonstrators in Hong Kong, Iran, and Bolivia—before the coup that toppled Evo Morales anyway—while scorning or ignoring them more or less everywhere else. The more doctrinaire quarters of the left have sniffed imperialist interventionism behind the Hong Kong and Iranian protests while affirming the legitimacy of pretty much every other popular movement on the planet.

If you can squint past the smoke from the barricades, the commonalities start to stand out. In Chile, anger over a  3 percent raise in metro fares revealed a population not merely miffed by “pocketbook issues”—the fare hike pushed transit costs to 21 percent of the monthly salary of a worker earning the minimum wage—but so exhausted by austerity, so squeezed by low wages and long hours and debt, so fed up with the greed and blindness of the wealthy few who run the country that they were ready to burn almost everything down. A few hours after declaring a state of emergency and dispatching the military into the streets, billionaire President Sebastián Piñera went on TV to remind the citizenry that Chile’s “stable democracy” and growing economy make it a “true oasis” on an otherwise chaotic continent. “The practices that underpin prosperity are not popular,” The Economist drily observed.

In another corner of the same echo chamber, not long after Egyptian police rounded up thousands who dared to demonstrate in September, the country’s finance minister lamented that the “fruits of [Egypt’s] economic reform were not captured by ordinary people.” Measures imposed by the International Monetary Fund had in fact caused inflation to rise 60 percent over three years, plunging millions into poverty. This is what a Morgan Stanley analyst recently called the “best reform story in the Middle East.”

The disconnect between elite perception and mass experience is as widespread as it is fundamental: All of the countries recently experiencing popular revolts—and most of the rest of the planet—have for decades been ruled by a single economic model, in which the “growth” celebrated by the pedigreed few means immiseration for the many, and capital streams into American and European accounts as reliably as sewage flows downhill. Chile was a notorious early laboratory: Pinochet’s assassination squads worked in tandem with Chicago-trained economists to create an “economic miracle” that only the fortunate, the unscrupulous, and the blind were able to appreciate. Should popular mobilizations in Bolivia fail to reverse the November 10 coup, they can expect similar acts of god.

The word gets thrown around a lot these days, but this is what neoliberalism means: a globally applicable method for preserving the current overwhelming imbalance of power. It works microcosmically on a municipal level—think decaying public transit systems with an apparently bottomless budget for racist fare enforcement, while billionaires hop in helicopters from rooftop to rooftop—and macrocosmically on a planetary scale, in which national elites collude with multinational corporations and international financial institutions to keep labor cheap and wealth and resources confined into established channels.

For most of the early 2000s, abundant Chinese capital and high prices for commodities like oil, gas, minerals, and agricultural products meant that some poor countries had options. For a little while, they could avoid the draconian “reform” traps attached to IMF loans: the usual slash-and-burn austerity recipe of public-sector cuts, privatization of state-held resources, and the gutting of labor protections in the name of “liberalization.” In Latin America, leftist governments won ground, and poverty and inequality plummeted. But the commodities boom sputtered out, the Chinese economy has stalled, and, after years of what must have been painful soul-searching, the IMF has stepped back in with the same old and discredited solutions.

Local elites have been happy to play along, hacking away at their own populations to keep the money flowing. In March, Ecuadorean President Lenín Moreno signed a deal with the IMF for a $4.2 billion loan, and in October, as required, slashed public sector wages and fuel subsidies, causing the price of diesel to double—and many thousands of mainly indigenous Ecuadoreans to pour into the streets. (Moreno soon fled the capital and agreed to abandon the austerity package.) In Lebanon, Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri announced a raft of new consumer taxes—on fuel, tobacco, and phone calls made via Internet messaging services—as part of a deficit-reduction package required by foreign lenders to secure an $11 billion loan. After 12 days of protests in which as much as a quarter of Lebanon’s population took part, Hariri resigned. The protesters haven’t quit.

The same model applies even in countries where the IMF and World Bank are forbidden from doing business: Iran, hobbled by four decades of US sanctions, has turned for years to the usual array of austerity measures. If they had widely failed to provide the economic panacea that they promised, they could at least reliably cushion the elite, passing the suffering on to classes deemed expendable. Until they couldn’t, that is.

Dignity is a funny thing: Once you reclaim it, it’s even harder to give up. Protesters’ demands have almost everywhere expanded far beyond the original outrage that set them off. In Hong Kong, demonstrators quickly determined that the withdrawal of the Extradition Bill was not nearly enough: They wanted universal suffrage too. (Half the seats in the city’s Legislative Council are directly elected by “functional constituencies,” such as bankers, manufacturers, and developers; inequality and housing costs are higher than anywhere in the world.) In Chile, protesters’ demands expanded from rolling back transit hikes to scrapping the country’s Pinochet-era Constitution. (It looks like they’ll get both—Piñera has reversed the fare hike and agreed to a referendum for a new Constitution.)

It is hard not to notice that not only in Haiti but in at least half a dozen countries from Ecuador to Zimbabwe protests were sparked by increases to the price of gasoline. It is no secret that we have to begin weaning ourselves off fossil fuels immediately if we are to have any hope of preserving some bearable version of human life on earth, but although nearly all of these countries have been hurt by the climate crisis—and their most vulnerable citizens hurt the hardest—these fuel hikes were not about reducing emissions. The IMF frequently ties loans to cuts in energy subsidies, and fuel taxes are an easy if regressive way to defray public debt: two tactics for getting the poor, and all those who have not benefited from official corruption, to bail out those who have.

On the other side of the global divide, wealthy European countries have seen protests directly linked to climate policy—either because governments are doing too little, as in the UK, or because the measures they are taking unevenly distribute the pain, as in the Netherlands and Germany, where farmers have reacted to restrictions on pesticides and nitrogen emissions by blocking highways with thousands of tractors, and France, where an environmentally motivated fuel tax coupled with tax cuts for the rich let loose more than a year of fighting in the streets.

From both sides, the lessons here are very clear. First, that any attempt to tackle the climate crisis that does not also take on the basic needs of the overwhelming majority of the earth’s inhabitants will catastrophically fail. And second, that those basic needs include not just food, health care, and housing, but also dignity and forms of solidarity that the current system does everything it can to destroy.

Is it any wonder that so many uprisings, all at once, barely rate a mention on the TV news? Earlier this month, the novelist Dominique Eddé wrote of the popular uprisings in Lebanon that it is “as if hundreds of thousands of solitary people had discovered at the same time, after an endless hibernation, that they were not alone.” If we would only look, we would see that the same thing is happening all across the globe, people waking up together, looking around, and finding each other looking back.

How You Can Help Roll Back The Coronavirus Police State

How You Can Help Roll Back The Coronavirus Police State

Not everyone seething about the ongoing abuses by local potentates is going to file a lawsuit, but everyone can contribute to a shift in the national mood.

Last week, Barstool Sports founder Dave Portnoy released a three-minute video in which he vigorously ranted against the ongoing lockdowns. Portnoy’s basic point was that the goalposts have shifted from “flatten the curve” to “find a cure.” He pointed out, in blunt and colorful language, that economic suicide in pursuit of the latter goal is insanity. His video went viral.

Portnoy is not a political figure. His anger over the economic crisis and sense that, having done our best to slow the spread, we have the right to take a risk to survive, resonates with a lot of normal people.

One of Portnoy’s repeated questions throughout the video was, “When did this happen?” When did we go from flattening the curve to tanking our economy, our livelihoods, and our futures? (Language warning in the video below.)

Last night on Tucker Carlson, Andrew Napolitano offered a related reflection when he described a free state as “one where the laws are written to uphold personal liberties,” while the definition of a police state is “one where the laws are written, legitimately or not, to uphold what the government wants.” He went on to note that there has been a transition in America that has not been gradual: “In a period of six weeks we have gone from a free state . . . to a police state.”

Alarming as it is, Napolitano is right. While COVID-19 is an obviously serious and frightening virus, our leaders (and many fellow Americans) seem oblivious to the destruction we are self-inflicting on our economy and on millions of American lives.

The bureaucrats and local would-be dictators concocting their various plans to protect us all from each other have to be relieved of their power or the police state will be permanent. So how did we get here, and how do we reclaim our liberty and the right to take risks to survive?

We got here because, as a nation, we agreed to the lockdowns in the first place. In late March and early April, as the virus was spreading in densely populated American cities and horror stories were pouring out of Lombardy, Italy, the mood among Americans shifted. Lockdowns started in coastal states where the threat felt most immediate, and swept the nation shortly thereafter.

The lockdowns happened because the national mood favored the lockdowns. Politicians knew they could call on their emergency powers and impose the restrictions because they would not meet resistance. Collectively, we consented.

Do not underestimate the power of a national mood. Wars have been won and lost based not on the military might of a nation so much as the will of its people to either prevail or to fold.

Nowhere is the spirit of a people more a force to be reckoned with than in America, where freedom and individual autonomy are part of our DNA. This invisible force is a very real influence in politics, and many constitutional abuses have never been attempted over the years, not because they were unconstitutional, but because politicians and leaders understood the actions would not be tolerated. In some sense, we are free because we choose to be free.

We did consent to the lockdowns and now are suffering under the insanity that has flowed from them—economic suicide and petty local laws that serve no purpose other than to nanny us into submission. So how do we muscle out of our bind? How do we return from the police state we have become to the land of liberty that we enjoyed a mere three months ago?

One answer is certainly that we must enforce our constitutional rights by challenging the myriad overreaches in court. That is a critically important effort and just the type of pushback I have applauded for many weeks now. But, in tandem to that effort, and really prior to it, we have to shift the mood again.

Not everyone seething about the ongoing abuses by local potentates is going to file a lawsuit, but everyone can contribute to a shift in the national mood. When people honestly express to others their opposition to continued lockdowns, the sentiment spreads and the “mood” strengthens.

Portnoy’s video went viral not just because he is a popular guy; it went viral because it gave voice to people who weren’t sure their gut reactions were “acceptable” and to people who felt encouraged by seeing someone with whom they identified step up and voice opposition.

We all need to step up and speak out. Everyone has a zone of influence, large or small, and when you speak, you add to a critical growing momentum.

We lose freedom ultimately because we let bad people take it from us. Freedom is not taken by force only; it is often taken slowly and quietly, with our foolish consent that is given by silence.

America was not founded to be a police or nanny state. It flourished because it was the land of the free and the home of the brave. It grew to greatness because people were willing to take risks to survive and succeed.

The will of the American people is not just a political platitude, it is a tangible and powerful force for freedom when properly activated. If we want to roll back the abuses—if we want to break the police state and reclaim our livelihoods, futures, and political autonomy—we all have to affirmatively contribute to a new national mood.

Molly McCann is Of Counsel with Sidney Powell, P.C. and lives and works in the Washington, D.C. metro area. In her free time, Molly is active in conservative policy and directs the Phyllis Schlafly Virginia Constitution Center, organizing events for young professionals.

COVID-19 Targets the Elderly. Why Don’t Our Prevention Efforts?

COVID-19 Targets the Elderly. Why Don’t Our Prevention Efforts?


By David Wallace-Wells

Senior citizens on a limited walking break in Ankara this week. Photo: Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Over the course of the spring, as American deaths grew first into the hundreds, then the thousands, then the tens of thousands, one after another early scientific observations about COVID-19 have been revised or discarded: As it turns out, the virus can be transmitted by asymptomatic people, masks do help, and ventilators aren’t that effective — to name just three.

But one observation from the early days of the pandemic has been confirmed again and again, in country after country: The lethality of the virus rises sharply with age. In the United States, we have spent much of the last few months enacting and debating uniform, universal public-health measures, which treat each citizen equally for the purposes of applied policy: social-distancing measures; “stay at home” or “shelter in place” guidelines; modified guidelines for essential workers, all 50 million of them; possible testing regimes, including “test, trace, and isolate”; and now a gradual reopening of those measures, typically state by state. Our policy, by and large, has treated every person as equally at risk, but the disease doesn’t treat us all equally. As we’ve known nearly from the start of this pandemic, but have chosen to downplay in our public messaging and public policy, COVID-19 is brutally lethal for the elderly, considerably less so for the middle-aged, and still less so for the young. The disease discriminates by age, in other words, so much so that at least one-third of all deaths from COVID in the U.S. have been nursing-home residents and employees. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, the figure could be even higher: one-half.

This is not to say that the young are invulnerable: They are not. Even among the youngest age cohort, COVID-19 is a very scary disease and can be lethal. It is scarier among those in their 40s than those in their 30s, scarier still for those in their 50s, and so on. But according to the CDC, almost 60 percent of those who have died from the disease in the U.S. were 75 or older. Almost 80 percent were age 65 or older. Only 7 percent of deaths were those age 54 or younger.

The data is just as striking elsewhere. In Italy, the case fatality rate, or percentage of those falling ill who ultimately die from the disease, is zero for age groups 0 to 9, 10 to 19, and 20 to 29. It is 0.3 percent for those ages 30 to 39 and 0.4 percent for those age 40 to 49. It is one percent for those ages 50 to 59 and 3.5 percent for those 60 to 69. At 70 to 79, the number jumps to 12.8 percent. At 80-plus, it jumps to 20.2 percent.

In Italy, hospital systems were overrun and doctors had to prioritize treating the youngest and healthiest patients. Which makes the numbers from Britain perhaps more striking. To date, about 200,000 Brits have been hospitalized for COVID-19, and 25,000 have died in hospital; of those, 90 percent of deaths were patients older than 60. In a preprint paper posted May 7, researchers used NHS records of 17 million Brits receiving health care of any kind between February 1 and April 25, 2020, to compile a broad picture of relative demographic risks. Of 5,683 deaths the researchers tracked, 52 percent were patients over 80; 80 percent were over 70; 91 percent were over 60; and 98 percent were over 50, with just 0.7 percent of deaths occurring in patients under 40.

The researchers then calculated what is called the “hazard ratio” for each group — the risk of dying compared to some baseline — in this case, 50-to-60-year-olds. Roughly 3 million people in that age cohort were active NHS patients during this time, of which just 355 died of COVID-19. The hazard ratio for those over 80 was almost 13 times higher than that of those in their 50s, which was about 13 times higher than for those under 40. Which means, in the U.K., all things being equal, someone under 40 has 1/180th the risk of someone over 80 — in other words, a British octogenarian is 180 times more likely to die of the disease than someone in their late 30s.

The ratios vary across countries — different nations have different natural demographic skews and have approached the disease in some quite different ways, leading to somewhat different outcomes. But the overall pattern is very clear: There is a dramatic difference in vulnerability by age range, and the differences are most dramatic at the very old end of the spectrum. In a summary post recommended by the economist Tyler Cowen, Silicon Valley tech executive Elad Gil aggregated the numbers for the case fatality rate (CFR) — the fraction of confirmed cases that end in death – globally: “Depending on the country, the CFR for patients over 80 years old is 10-55X of CFR of patients in 50s, 30-100X of CFR of patients in 40s, and 60-240X of CFR of patients in 30s.” By those numbers, COVID-19 almost begins to look like a different disease from one age group to another. For those under the age of 45, COVID-19 has a case fatality rate of about 0.1 percent — roughly the all-ages fatality rate of the seasonal flu (though, as a novel virus, it is considerably more infectious). For those 75 to 84, it’s about 4 percent, which puts it in the neighborhood of whooping cough and makes it about twice as lethal as the all-ages fatality rate for the Spanish flu of 1918. For those 85 and above, it’s north of 10 percent.

On some level, this spread should not be surprising. Aging makes one increasingly vulnerable to any illness, as we all know, most of us from personal experience. And indeed, as the CDC data shows, the age skew of the coronavirus is not all that different from the age skew of death from all causes in the U.S, where, during the pandemic, 31 percent of all deaths in the U.S. were patients 85 and older, 56 percent were 75 and older, 76 percent were 65 and older, and just 12 percent were 54 and younger. But this skew tracks with the general provision of health-care services in this country — however broken that system is, it does emphasize elder care and end-of-life care, often at the expense of more effective interventions earlier in life, because the needs are starker, and demands greater, at older ages. But when it comes to COVID-19, health policy and public messaging simply do not reflect that spread — in the U.S. or really anywhere in the world.

In the U.S., over the last few months, this age skew has become almost exclusively a talking point of the COVID-skeptical right. On March 24, Texas lieutenant governor Dan Patrick suggested that plenty of grandparents would happily die to preserve the health of the American economy for the children and grandchildren, later doubling down on the point to suggest “there are more important things than living.” The radio host Ben Shapiro, who once raged against Obamacare’s “death panels,” said, “If grandma dies in a nursing home at age 81, that’s tragic and that’s terrible, also the life expectancy in the United States is 80” — ignoring or overlooking the fact that the life expectancy of someone who is today 80 is about an additional decade. And perhaps most egregiously, there was the Twitter thread, last week, from conservative writer Bethany Mandel. “You can call me Grandma Killer,” she wrote. “I’m not sacrificing my home, food on the table, all of our docs and dentists, every form of pleasure (museums, zoos, restaurants), all my kids’ teachers in order to make other people comfortable. If you want to stay locked down, do. I’m not.”

But noting that different groups are differently vulnerable is only an argument for throwing up your hands and “letting it rip” in a political and social environment in which you only have two options: total lockdown or total indifference. Strangely, that has been, for the most part, how the U.S. has chosen to fight this disease, embracing “stay at home” and “shelter in place,” which are effective quarantines, all across the country without even attempting to impose, in most parts of the country, less invasive social-distancing measures and without rolling out anywhere in the U.S. anything like the expansive testing programs that have allowed many countries, particularly in Asia, to avoid the need for extended lockdowns.

Perhaps this fast action — moving within days from limited social-distancing guidance to full shutdown — was necessary in states like Washington and New York, where the disease seemed to be spreading so quickly intermediate measures would’ve quickly proved ineffective. And given our abysmal testing capacity through all of March and much of April, it would’ve been difficult to know precisely where different levels of precaution were necessary. But today, with somewhat better testing, in parts of the country where the disease had hardly or not at all announced itself, such measures can already look, in retrospect, premature — and, coming perhaps too soon, may have deprived those communities of some amount of political will to endure lockdowns if and when they become considerably more necessary when case and death counts grow.

Yet, even now, the public-health debate continues to proceed in a maddeningly binary, quite partisan manner, with advocates of “reopening” on one side and those pushing for continued lockdowns on the other. This has not been especially productive politically, though very strong majorities, on both sides of the aisle, continue to support restrictive shutdown measures. Presumably, even if we wanted to, we couldn’t properly “reopen” almost anywhere in the country, since research has shown that the collapse of social and economic activity across the country began before lockdowns were put into place, as citizens learned about the threats of the disease, and in those places that have “opened up,” businesses have seen only a very limited rebound. And, on the other side of things, we can’t very easily endure continued stay-at-home orders until a vaccine arrives perhaps a year or two, or more, from now.

But while a number of the plans put forward as guides to reopening from lockdown, including the one produced by the White House, have suggested different regions and communities could be classified differently, according to COVID risk, and could implement different levels of caution as a result, there has been much less emphasis, in any of the plans, on how different groups within each community should be advised and how public policy could be shaped to focus most on those most in need. Indeed, there has been remarkably little communication in general directed at individuals beyond “stay at home” and “wash your hands” — often the extent of the messaging to the most vulnerable is to say: “If you are over 65 and/or have a preexisting condition, you should be more vigilant.” But not all conditions are created equal, and the risk faced by a 70-year-old female survivor of non-liquid cancer is very different from that faced by an 85-year-old male survivor of liquid cancer. As Julia Marcus writes for The Atlantic, these guidelines are like abstinence-only sex education: It doesn’t give you anything like the information you need to actually succeed at managing your own risk, in part because it’s one-size-fits-all and in part because that size simply won’t fit everybody — or perhaps anybody — in the long run.

So what would a more targeted public-health approach look like? Let’s take just the age-skew data and rewind to late February, when the first two residents of the Life Care nursing home in Kirkland, Washington, died from COVID-19. At that point, given the striking clarity of the data as it was coming out of China, a national effort to focus on protecting the health of the country’s elderly could have begun in earnest. We could’ve immediately prioritized the supply of PPE to old-age homes, perhaps deploying a sort of national monitoring force of public-health officials to hold these facilities (notoriously poorly run) up to standard and ensure that new, coronavirus-specific hygienic protocols were enforced. We could’ve done the same for testing materials, requiring residents and staff to be regularly tested, as New York has just now started to do, only months later, after nearly 5,000 have died in nursing homes in the state. We could’ve stopped discharging from hospitals elderly patients who were going to return to nursing homes and potentially spread the disease, instead establishing a more centralized quarantine system like those in Hong Kong and Wuhan. We could’ve been much more emphatic and explicit in issuing behavioral guidelines for the elderly, their families, and those interacting with them, so that it was much clearer precisely what the risks to the old were and how all of those around them could try to minimize them. We could’ve provided additional support for those living alone, or trying to isolate, in part by ramping up meal- and prescription-delivery programs. We could’ve deployed the limited resources we had capable of real contact tracing to focus on elderly communities, and as we expanded those resources, we could’ve continued that focus even as the contact tracers expanded their purview to deal with more and more of the pandemic.

All of this would have presumably required a much more competent federal government, and one much more genuinely focused on the need to protect its citizens, than the one we had or have. And yet it is also the case that it would’ve been considerably less costly, and less invasive, than the general-lockdown measures we have taken so far, or than those we are discussing now as a path forward: mass testing, contact tracing, and isolation for the population as a whole. Indeed, all of these options are available to us now — we could secure nursing home and elderly communities around the country today for a fraction of the cost of population-level mass testing and an even tinier fraction of the cost of economic shutdown. Population-level mass testing is of course preferable to this more targeted approach from an epidemiological perspective — its protections fuller and broader, and the information it yields more useful in planning future policy interventions. But given how slow those programs have been to get going, and how much easier the lift of a targeted approach would be, in theory, it’s not clear we’re likely to ever get anything more universal than targeted support. At the very least, we could be providing information to people about just how high a risk they face, personally.

Of course, age is not the only vector along which COVID discriminates. The disease also discriminates by ethnicity; in the British data, blacks and Asians faced higher hazard ratios, even accounting for preexisting risk factors, for instance; and gender, with men facing about twice as much risk; class, of course; and “preexisting condition,” with transplant patients, for example, facing almost five times as much risk. Many of the disparities — particularly those of ethnicity and class — are in part created by disparities in treatment and wealth and social status, of course. Which helps explain, I think, why public policy and public messaging have been so unremittingly universal: There is something unsettling, even at an informational level, of discussing differences between these groups, and something even more unsettling about imagining the arrival of a medical surveillance state in some of those communities and not others. Universalism is how we pretend, as a country, to be impartial, nonprejudicial. Often, it is an alibi for cruelty and injustice; other times, it can be a rhetorical gesture toward democratic ideals. Frequently, it’s both.

But the age skew of the coronavirus trumps all of these disparities for scale. According to that British data, none of those other demographic qualities more than doubles risk, and most have a much smaller effect. None of the preexisting conditions multiplies it by more than five, with, again, most conditions increasing risk by a much smaller amount. Being over 80, remember, multiplies coronavirus risk 13-fold, compared to someone in their 50s. Compared to a 30-something, it multiplies it 180-fold.

For at least a generation, American political elites have taken it for granted that universal programs were more salable than targeted ones — the benefits essentially buying support from those who didn’t need the help but who might oppose a more targeted approach, insisting on at least “means testing” the benefits and probably trying to strip them away from those who were truly in need. But COVID-19 has scrambled so much of our political conventional wisdom it can be hard to keep up, with many commentators worrying now that American anti-authoritarianism, libertarianism, and general suspicion of government means the U.S. couldn’t possibly mount a national mass-testing regime — even though the country has just willingly endured quarantine for about six weeks, with majorities more worried the shutdowns will end too soon than that they will go on too long. And while new polling does show broad suspicion of medical surveillance, it’s hard to know how that suspicion will fare once brought into contact with the relative social and economic normalcy that surveillance would bring. The shutdowns we have already endured are much more restrictive than any test, trace, and isolate program, which we are, by the way, quite a long way from implementing, with perhaps only 1/25th the testing capacity we’d need. In the meantime — radical thought — perhaps our public policy should start from the most vulnerable, doing what we can to protect them, and proceed outward, and upward, from there.

Cong. Adam Schiff, Disinformation Agent and Character Assassin

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., accompanied by the impeachment managers House Judiciary Committee Chairman, Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., Rep. Sylvia Garcia, D-Texas, Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif., and Rep. Jason Crow, D-Colo. speaks to reporters, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2020. The U.S. Senate was poised to hear opening arguments Wednesday in President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial, with Democratic House managers set to make their case that Trump abused power and should be removed from office.(AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff has been feeding the American people misinformation for years. He used his position — replete with access to information and people in the know — to distribute wild accounts of Russian collusion with the Trump campaign.

The effect was to frighten and alarm millions of Americans, sowing division between neighbors, toxifying our discourse and raising anxieties.

The Trump administration spent time and resources fighting off the fallacy that cursed them since day one and deprived the American people of a president who could devote his time and energy to the policies they had elected him to enact.

Just a year ago, Adam Schiff was on CNN, MSNBC, ABC, Fox News — anyone who would have him — talking about Trump/Russia collusion “in plain sight.”

Even after the Mueller report clearly indicated that there was no provable collusion or coordination between the Russian government and the Trump campaign, Schiff continued to propagate the lie.

Chris Wallace of Fox News pressed Schiff on the claims, playing the congressman a highlight reel of his assertions of collusion.

Schiff shot back, “What more clear intent to collude could you have than the Russians offering dirt on Hillary Clinton as part of what was described as an effort to help Mr. Trump in the campaign and Don Jr. saying if it’s what you say, I would love it?”

“Intent to collude.”

That after years sounding the alarm about “damning evidence” of collusion with Putin that was “more than circumstantial.” This scandal was “beyond Watergate,” Schiff, privy to all of the sensitive intelligence, told us.

We found out this week that Schiff always knew there was no evidence of collusion. By day he would interview former Obama administration officials including Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power, national security adviser Susan Rice and Attorney General Loretta Lynch, who would tell him there was nothing, and by night he’d jump on a newscast assuring Americans that he’d seen evidence of something.

But there was nothing.

The canard Schiff continued to promulgate was supercharged, though, by the media, who went wall to wall with their coverage. Relics from Watergate were dragged out onto “Breaking News” sets and we were told how serious the matter was.

Hysterical anti-Trump media personalities took to social media to scold anyone who doubted the Russia conspiracy, lecturing us about putting “country over party.”

The coordination between Schiff and the media was pernicious.

As Lee Smith wrote in the New York Post, “The tragic fact is that once-prestigious press organizations, including CNN as well as MSNBC, the New York Times and the Washington Post, weren’t fooled by the collusion hoax. They were an essential part of it.”

Adam Schiff is a vile actor. Democrats must follow their own mantra and put their country over party and eject the snake in their midst.

There are bipartisan endeavors — like infrastructure legislation, economic recovery and the battle against the pandemic — that have undoubtedly been hindered by the malevolence of the congressman from California who abused his power by weaponizing his position in order to bring down a duly-elected president.

We will continue to bear the poisoned fruit from his actions for years and it will happen again in a different form unless there is a reckoning, once and for all.

The Coming ‘Breaking’ Of The China Supply Chain

China, from the Trump Administration’s point of view, is to blame for the global pandemic. For punishment, Trump is talking about rolling back his promise not to increase tariffs.

“It would be extremely destabilizing if the president pulled out of the agreement without giving the Chinese a chance to meet their commitments,” says Craig Allen, president of the U.S. China Business Council, an organization representing the interests of large multinationals doing business with China.

On Friday, Trump slapped new, extra-territorial sanctions on China’s telecom systems maker Huawei. The Commerce Department implemented plans to block Huawei from obtaining even foreign-made semiconductors built using U.S. technology, that could put them out of market for Taiwenese, Japanese and South Korean semis.

“There has been a very highly technically loophole through which Huawei has been able, in effect, to use U.S. technology through foreign producers We never intended that loophole to be there,” Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross told Maria Bartiromo on her show Mornings with Maria on Friday.

Ross also said the government has appropriated $1 billion to get rural telecom towers to remove Huawei equipment.

Is the U.S. weening itself from China? Yes. And if it’s not doing so by government mandate, it’s happening through the private sector.

“More companies are seeing that this pandemic really crippled their business and are thinking they need to diversify their supply chain,” says John Scannapieco, an attorney with Banker Donelson in Nashville.

“Companies are thinking that if this kind of thing happens again, and apparently it will, they want to diversify for that reason,” he says. “Plus it’s getting too bureaucratic now to be a foreigner in China. They are looking to other countries in Asia and Mexico. They reducing their presence and hedging their bets so they don’t get stuck from another pandemic, or politics.”

What Will Leave China First?

The first things to leave China will be anything deemed a national security issue. In the not so recent past, that was steel. In the near future, it’s going to be anything medical related — from an over-reliance on China for pharmaceutical inputs and generic drugs like ibuprofen — to simple things like personal protection equipment required to cover medical stuff from head to toe when dealing with infectious diseases.

During times of geopolitical tension, or in the face of a global pandemic like now, dependency on foreign suppliers can become a threat to national security, says a 52 page study the Henry Jackson Society in London, published this month.

This is particularly true if a major supplier emerges as a geopolitical rival, like China.

Dependency can be even more serious where the opponent has a technological lead in relation to a particular industry, because procurement of the goods elsewhere becomes nearly impossible, report authors wrote.

The U.S. is dependent on China in 16 categories, across five sectors that run the gambit between things that few really ever think of (rare earth materials — 68% from China) to things school nurses and families have at home (Vitamin C and Vitamin D — 75% from China).

You know that little red heart pill that costs a fortune at Duane Reade — CoQ-10? Well 99% of that enzyme is sourced in China, according to the Henry Jackson study.

Tech Decoupling

For the U.S., China has become a tech power faster than Brazil, faster than Russia — which sent a man into space before anyone else. China did it because of intellectual property theft, the story goes in Washington.

For China, their take is that they’re just smart and hard workers and can make things without stealing American computer code.

Like the rest of the world, China is still dependent on American technology — whether its semiconductors or operating systems for its cell phones. Most of this is American IP.

“One paradigm one can cite with a high degree of confidence that will emerge dramatically different post COVID is the fault lines of the global tech cold war,” says Apjit Walia, a managing director for Deutsche Bank. “The acceleration of this 21st century cold war has the potential to split the world into two halves by a ‘Tech Wall’ – two parallel tech regimes – a U.S. centric one and a Chinese centric one, with little or no inter-operability,” he says, forcing partners to pick sides like Apple AAPL or Microsoft MSFT, only trickier because, to put it in simple terms, the Apple device won’t be able to run Word, and the Windows machine won’t be able to download items from a Mac machine.

The impact this could have on every sphere of life globally may last decades, if not generations. It is something every policy maker, institution and corporation has to bear in mind as they plan for life post-pandemic, Walia wrote in a recent report he titled “The Coming Tech Wall”.

In the previous cold war, the U.S. won the innovation race versus the Soviets by outspending them. That primary strategy eventually worked. The Soviet Union had no access to capital markets, either. So they went broke.

China has access to capital markets. In fact, Wall Street loves China. Venture capital loves China tech. Tik-Tok is Chinese. Zoom is the brainchild of a Chinese entrepreneur now living in Silicon Valley.

Thanks to China’s easy access to global capital and its talent pool, China will likely reach tech parity with the U.S. between 2025-2030, based on the data crunchers at Deutsche Bank’s dbDig, a big data platform.

The Trump strategy to slow China down, however, seems to be working.

“This would come as a surprise to several stakeholders who believe Trump’s China policies are flawed,” says Walia. They are not. But nor are they permanent.

Trump could be out of office in 8 short months. Democrats would likely try returning to the late Obama-era strategy of ring fencing China through labor and tech trade agreements like the Trans-Pacific Partnership and hope that American companies will turn to sourcing elsewhere as labor and environmental arbitrage tighten.

“Going after China alone without allies is not the way to handle this and I would assume that (Joe) Biden would go back to that diplomatic approach,” says Nicole Lamb-Hale, a managing director at Kroll, a division of Duff & Phelps in Washington, D.C. She is a former Assistant Secretary for Manufacturing and Services in the U.S. Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration and served as the Department’s lead on the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States.

“If we do this alone, we will have no leverage,” she says. “That’s really what TPP was about. You box China in a bit because all of southeast Asia was coming together to set a new standard. That might force China to change its ways. We walked away from that when Trump came in. I could see a Democrat moving back in that direction.”

In the meantime, China will ramp up its home grown technological capabilities.

The Greater Bay Area, their version of Silicon Valley, will be a real rival. Wait until they are able to entice Taiwanese, South Koreans, Singaporeans and Hong Kongers to come in and build a better mouse trip. It’ll happen.

Proponents of a decoupling from China say that the only way to get them to play by the rules would be to punish them financially. Some in the market are worried that financial sanctions on China’s state owned banks, the largest corporations in the world based on the recently released Forbes Global 2000, would be the beginning of the end of the U.S.-China relationship, dividing the world — perhaps — between the Western capitalist democracies, and the top-down managerial style of the Chinese communist party’s state-directed capitalist model.

Alone Or With Partners?

Even Adam Smith – the “father of free trade” – made clear that it was undesirable for a country to become dependent on its neighbors for key products lest it become unable to protect itself in times of crises.

See the Western world’s lack of ventilators and surgical masks as exhibit A.

Still, there is a positive way, and a negative way to work through what appears to be an obvious desire to remove some supply from mainland China.

From the Henry Jackson Society’s report, negative decoupling will happen if the U.S. and its allies decided to:

1. Adopt legislation and establish mechanisms to constrain Chinese entities from gaining control over strategic industries;

2. Act punitively together against Chinese enterprises that have engaged in unfair trading practices, such as joint sanctions. Right now only the U.S. has sanctions on Hikvision, for example, a partially state owned surveillance systems manufacturer whose cameras guard facilities holding Uighur Muslims in Western China.

3. Enact incremental legislation, at national level, to reduce import dependencies on China.

Then there’s what the report authors call a more positive decoupling, one that does not seek to smash China in the mouth.

These include:

1.Adopting a national economic strategy to ensure secure access to goods required to meet strategic industrial needs, which includes localizing these items.

2. Develop a national infrastructure strategy to reduce dependencies caused by China’s mercantile market distortions in an effort to strengthen independence from China supply chains in key, high paying job creating areas, namely electronic communications, transportation tech, and building national infrastructure, such as better ports utilizing automation to drive down the costs of trading among countries.

This requires the U.S. to focus on STEM subjects in schools instead of the arts and humanities. We are either going to build the world’s best tech, or a few of us will be lucky enough to be able to sing and dance for their CEOs.

Moreover, government and private sector funding for research and development is needed to uphold and restore technological leadership instead of using the money for share buybacks.

A strategic supply chain shift is in the cards.

The Anglo-American Five Eyes countries — U.S., U.K., Canada, Australia and New Zealand — have long been at the vanguard of global development. They have often stood together to resist challenges to the rules-based international system, a system people like Trump believe has been corrupted, in favor of transnational finance and purposefully homeless corporations with no allegiance to a national commonwealth.

If the system is broken, as Trump and the China hawks will attest, then it sets the table for the U.S. to go it alone.

That puts some of the onus on the other countries to try and woo Washington to the table, especially if Trump is re-elected and the desire to break away from China persists next year. But if they don’t come together, it sends the signal to markets that the world’s No. 1 economy will be taking on the world’s No. 2 by itself.

“Nationalist forces in China and in the United States means that there is likely a 60% chance that China will drop the phase one trade agreement given how egregious it is,” says Sebastien Galy, macro strategist for Nordea Asset Management in Luxembourg.

Viewed from China, the odds of the U.S. taking action against them on trade are even higher.

China understands the risk is due, in part, to the presidential campaign.

Investors are not relearning that China trade uncertainty, put to rest for the most part in December, is now back.

Headed For the Big Showdown–Trump and China’s War of Words

Trump Aide Accuses China of Using Travelers to ‘Seed’ Virus

 

U.S. mulls paying companies, tax breaks to pull supply chains from China

US/China Trading Dangerous Accusations Over Possibility of Weaponized Coronavirus

The Bloodsucking Lawyers Have Taken Legal Action To Punish China For Coronavirus

Can Trump Get Re-Elected By Starting A Shooting War w/China?

Trump’s Economic War On China Blocks Vital Semiconductors Headed To China

Producers behind Red Dawn remake swapped Chinese flags and insignia for North Korean ones for fear of losing out on billion-dollar box office  

He thought the coronavirus was ‘a fake crisis.’–The virus changed his mind.

He thought the coronavirus was ‘a fake crisis.’ Then he contracted it and changed his mind.

Brian Hitchens said he thought that the coronavirus “is a fake crisis” that was “blown out of proportion” and “wasn’t that serious.”

By Janelle Griffith

A Florida man who thought the coronavirus was “a fake crisis” has changed his mind after he and his wife contracted COVID-19.

Brian Hitchens, a rideshare driver who lives in Jupiter, downplayed the seriousness of the coronavirus in Facebook posts in March and April.

Brian Hitchens
Brian Hitchens.WPTV

“I’m honoring what our government says to do during this epidemic but I do not fear this virus because I know that my God is bigger than this Virus will ever be,” he wrote in a post on April 2. “Jesus is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.”

In mid-April, Hitchens, 46, began documenting his and his wife’s health on Facebook.

“Been home sick for over a week. Both my wife and I home sick,” he wrote in a post on April 18. “I’ve got no energy and all I want to do is sleep.”

A day later, Hitchens and his wife, Erin, were admitted to Palm Beach Gardens Medical Center, Hitchens said in a Facebook post.

Hitchens could not immediately be reached for comment Monday. The voicemail box for a number listed for him is full.

In a lengthy post on May 12, Hitchens said that he was once among those who thought the coronavirus “is a fake crisis” that was “blown out of proportion” and “wasn’t that serious.”

That changed when he started to feel sick in April and stopped working, he wrote.

Hitchens said he “had just enough energy” to drive himself and his wife to Palm Beach Gardens Medical Center on April 19, where they both tested positive for the virus.

“They admitted us right away and we both went to ICU,” he wrote. “I started feeling better within a few days but my wife got worse to the point where they sedated her and put her on the ventilator.”

He said his wife of eight years has been sick “quite a few times” in the past and she always fought through. This time, he said, “I have come to accept that my wife may pass away.”

Hitchens, who has been unable to see his wife since they were hospitalized, said he was holding out hope she would recover.

“This thing is nothing to be messed with please listen to the authorities and heed the advice of the experts,” he wrote. “We don’t have to fear this and by heeding the advice doesn’t mean that you fear it that means you’re showing wisdom during this epidemic time.”

The May 12 post, in which he implored people to “use wisdom,” has been shared more than 500 times.

“Looking back I should have wore a mask in the beginning but I didn’t and perhaps I’m paying the price for it now,” he wrote. If he passed the virus on to his wife, he said, he knows that she and God forgive him.

“So just think about what I said and if you have to go out please use wisdom and don’t be foolish like I was … so the same thing won’t happen to you like it happened to me and my wife,” he wrote.

Hitchens had one thing to say in a Facebook post Monday to people who have sent him “nasty messages” saying he deserved to die: “‘I AM NEGATIVE”! “PRAISE THE LORD!'”

Israel’s Gangster Government Gets “Green light” from Trump To Muscle-Out Palestinians

SEE:

Trump’s plan gives Israel a green light to annex part of the West Bank. Here’s what that looks like

The Jordanian Option has Always Been Zionism’s Plan–May 27, 2009
Ret. Jordan Generals Warn of Kerry’s Revival of Zionist “Jordanian Option”–Feb 5, 2014
Palestinians Reject Forced Ejection In “Jordanian Option”…Issue Calls For New Intifada— Dec 7, 2017

Gangster geopolitics and Israel’s annexation plans

The Israeli plan to annex parts of the occupied West Bank shows a shocking disregard for international law.

by
US President Donald Trump waves next to Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu prior to announcing his Middle East plan in Washington on January 28, 2020 [Reuters/Brendan McDermid]
US President Donald Trump waves next to Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu prior to announcing his Middle East plan in Washington on January 28, 2020 [Reuters/Brendan McDermid]

These are the strangest of times. On this almost everyone will agree.

Lives all over the planet are being torn apart either by the COVID-19 pandemic or as a result of its devastating social and economic dislocations. In such a moment, it is hardly surprising that the best and worst of humanity is being showcased.

Yet what seems worse beyond even these forebodings is the persistence of gangster geopolitics in its various manifestations.

Intensifying United States sanctions in the midst of the health crisis on already deeply afflicted countries such as Iran and Venezuela is one striking example. This display of the primacy of geopolitics is highlighted by its rejections of numerous high-profile humanitarian appeals for the suspension of sanctions, at least for the duration of the pandemic. Instead of suspension and empathy, we find a tone-deaf Washington almost gleefully upping its “maximum pressure” policy, perversely grabbing the opportunity to rachet up the pain level.

Another dark tale is the macabre Israeli dance around the disruptive lawlessness of the annexation of parts of the occupied West Bank promised by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The insistence that any annexation of occupied Palestinian territory directly violates fundamental norms of international law seems no longer to be taken seriously. Maybe because of this, Israel is poised to annex without even attempting to offer legal justifications for overriding the widely endorsed and rigidly interpreted rule that a sovereign state is not allowed to annex foreign territory acquired by force.

This instance of annexation additionally involves an extreme repudiation of international humanitarian law as embodied in the Fourth Geneva Convention. It amounts to a unilateral move by Israel to change the status of land in the West Bank from that of occupied since 1967 to that of its sovereign territorial authority. And further, such contemplated annexation directly challenges the authority of the United Nations, which by an overwhelming continuous consensus regards Israel’s presence in the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and Gaza as solely based on force and occupation, making any modification dependent on a prior authoritative expression of Palestinian consent, which is hard to imagine ever being given.

The Israeli security ‘debate’

For all these reasons it is not surprising that even Israeli heavyweights, including former heads of Mossad and Shin Bet, as well as retired army officers are sounding the alarm. Of course, none of this Israeli internal debate objects to annexation because it violates international law, rejects UN or European Union authority, and ignores Palestinian inalienable rights.

All the objections to annexation from within Israel are couched by exclusive reference to a variety of concerns about alleged negative impacts on Israeli security. In particular, these critics from within Israel’s national security establishment are worried about disturbing Arab neighbours and further alienating international public opinion, especially in Europe, and to some extent the critics worry about weakening the solidarity of American and European Jews for Israel.

The pro-annexation side of the Israeli policy debate also mentions security considerations, especially with respect to the Jordan Valley and the settlements, but much less so. Unlike the critics, the more ardent proponents of annexation are land claimants.

They invoke a Jewish biblical entitlement to Judea and Samaria (known internationally as the West Bank). This entitlement is reinforced by referencing Jewish deep cultural traditions and centuries of historical connections between a small Jewish presence and this land held sacred.

As with Israeli critics of annexation, supporters feel no need to explain, or even notice, the disregard of Palestinian grievances and rights. Annexationists do not dare put forward an argument that the Jewish claims are more deserving of recognition than are the competing national claims of Palestinians, undoubtedly because their case is so weak in terms of modern ideas of law and the ethics of entitlement.

As has been the case throughout the Zionist narrative, Palestinian grievances, aspirations, and even the existence of a Palestinian people is not part of the Zionist imaginary except as political obstacles and demographic impediments.

At the same time, all along Zionism has been tactically opportunistic about disclosing the full extent of its project, instead focusing on what it could gain under a given set of circumstances as all that it wanted.

When one considers the evolution of the main drift of Zionism since its inception, the longer-term aspiration of marginalising Palestinians in a single dominant Jewish state that encompassed the whole of Israel’s “promised land” has never been forsaken. In this sense the UN partition plan – while accepted as a solution at the time – is better understood as a stepping stone to recovering as much of the promised land as possible. In the course of the last 100 years, from a Zionist perspective utopia became reality, while for the Palestinians reality became dystopia.

Gangster geopolitics

How the prelude to annexation is being addressed by Israel and the US is as dismaying as the underlying erasure of the Palestinians, who will be cast out as a restive population to be kept fragmented and as disunited as possible so that their resistance and objections can be efficiently muted.

Netanyahu managed to secure approval for his annexation plan in the unity government deal with his rival-turned-coalition-partner, Benny Gantz. The only precondition for the proposal he is set to submit after July 1 was conforming the contours of the annexation to the territorial allocations embodied in the notoriously one-sided “Peace to Prosperity” proposal put forward by the Trump administration.

Even without the disclosure of the Trump peace plan, US tacit approval for annexation was hardly ever in doubt. It follows from Trump’s endorsement of Israel’s annexation of the occupied Syrian territory of the Golan Heights in March 2019.

As could be expected, Donald Trump’s America is creating no friction, not even whispering to Netanyahu at least to offer legal justifications or explain away the negative effects of annexation on Palestinian peace prospects. Instead, the US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, gave a green light to West Bank annexation even before Israel formalised its claim, declaring provocatively that annexation is a matter for the Israelis to determine on their own (as if neither Palestinians nor international law had any relevance). He added that the US will convey its opinions privately to the government of Israel.

In the undisclosed background, the callousness of the annexation initiative seems designed to neuter the UN and blunt international criticism of Israel. It is expected that the annexation will be greeted by strong rhetoric of denunciation from several European leaders and possibly the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, but unaccompanied by any serious push for an international campaign to reverse this taking of Palestinian land.

On the basis of past experience, it seems likely that after a few days of media coverage, concerns will subside, and the world will move on. Even the Palestinians, discouraged by years of fruitless waiting, seem to be suffering, at least temporarily, from a combination of resistance fatigue and ineffectual solidarity initiatives.

Such an assessment is one more sign that Israeli-US relations are being managed in accord with “gangster geopolitics”, and without paying heed to international law or UN authority. It is a despicable act that sweeps law and morality aside while political space is forcibly cleared for land theft.

It follows an incredible pattern of official behaviour both in the US and Israel.

First, there is the defiant nature of the Israeli annexation claim. Secondly, there is the single qualification that Israel must obtain a geopolitical stamp of approval from the US government before going forward with annexation. Thirdly, there is the US government’s move to throw the ball back to Israel by saying the decision to annex is Israel’s to make, yet it will give Israel the benefit of its private opinion on the matter, presumably on the tactics of timing and presentation, without any consideration of matters of principle.

There is a ghostly melody accompanying this macabre dance. Israel tames its unilateralism by a gesture of geopolitical deference, and by this posturing, acts as if the approval of the US matters as something more than a political show of support. The US does not question the Israeli logic, yet it does not want to accept responsibility for a public show of approval. It declares in public that Israel is free to act as it wishes although withholding, at least for now, any public expression of approval or disapproval with respect to annexation.

Whether this will cause any problems as the July date approaches is unlikely, especially as Israel will present annexation as a partial implementation of the Trump proposals.

I suspect that the US private message will be one of discreet approval, which Netanyahu will undoubtedly treat as satisfying the agreement with Gantz.

What stands out here is the arrogance of the politics of annexation. Not only are the rules and procedures of the world public order cast aside, but the internal discourse on the transfer of rights is carried on as if the people most affected are irrelevant, a kind of “internal Orientalism”. Such is the reality of gangster geopolitics.

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Al Jazeera’s editorial stance.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Next Phase In the Global Depression…Famine and All the Darkness That Comes With It

FAO/IFAD/WFP/Michael Tewelde
In 2019, Ethiopia experienced the fifth-worst food crisis of all the countries on earth.

The world is not only facing “a global health pandemic but also a global humanitarian catastrophe”, the UN food relief agency chief told the Security Council on Tuesday via video link.

Noting that the global spread of COVID-19 this year has sparked “the worst humanitarian crisis since World War Two”, Executive Director of the World Food Programme (WFP) David Beasley pointed to deepening crises, more frequent natural disasters and changing weather patterns, saying “we’re already facing a perfect storm”.

As millions of civilians in conflict-scarred nations teeter on the brink of starvation, he said, “famine is a very real and dangerous possibility”.

Mr. Beasley painted a grim picture of 135 million people facing crisis levels of hunger or worse, coupled with an additional 130 million on the edge of starvation prompted by Coronavirus, noting that WFP currently offers a lifeline to nearly 100 million people – up from about 80 million just a few years ago.

“If we can’t reach these people with the life-saving assistance they need, our analysis shows that 300,000 people could starve to death every single day over a three-month period”, he upheld. “This does not include the increase of starvation due to COVID-19”.

Requesting assistance

Noting that WFP is the “logistics backbone” for humanitarians and “even more so now for the global effort to beat the COVID-19 pandemic”, the WFP chief urged the Council to “lead the way”.

“First and foremost, we need peace”, he said.

He asked that all involved in the fighting provide “swift and unimpeded” humanitarian access to vulnerable communities and for coordinated action to support life-saving assistance, along with $350 million in new funding, to set up a network of logistics hubs to keep worldwide humanitarian supply chains moving.

Mr. Beasley also raised the need for early warning systems: “If we don’t prepare and act now – to secure access, avoid funding shortfalls and disruptions to trade – we could be facing multiple famines of biblical proportions within a short few months.”

In closing, he underlined that “we do not have time on our side, so let’s act wisely – and let’s act fast”.

Link between conflict and food security

Director-General of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), Qu Dongyu highlighted how the newly released 2020 Global Report on Food Crises report, clearly links conflict and rising levels of acute food insecurity.

Against the backdrop that 135 million people in 55 countries experienced acute food insecurity in 2019, nearly 60 per cent of whom lived in conflict or instability, he cited Yemen as the world’s worst food and malnutrition crisis this year, saying that the number of acutely food-insecure people there is “expected to exceed 17 million”.

The FAO chief also drew a connection between livelihood interventions and peace processes, spelling out that “coherent actions are needed among humanitarian, development and peace actors to address the root causes of acute food insecurity”.

Flagged that “the forecasts for food security in 2020 look bleak”, he underscored the importance of early warning and quick action to pre-empt food insecurity caused by conflicts.

While conflicts, extreme weather, desert locusts, economic shocks and now COVID-19, are likely to “push more people into acute food insecurity”, Mr. Qu saw a ray of hope, saying that “by closely monitoring the evolution of these shocks, we can rapidly intervene to mitigate their impacts”.

Noting that widespread conflict and instability lead to food insecurity, and that reducing or preventing conflict reduces and prevents hunger, the FAO chief closed by saying: “We have mobilized our organizations in ways not seen since the foundation of the UN”.

Field-based obstacles

Former top UN humanitarian affairs official, Jan Egeland, now Secretary General of the Norwegian Refugee Council, appealed to the Security Council for help with field-based obstacles in reaching hungry people living in a wartime setting.

“In my 40 years as a humanitarian worker, I have never seen as many people displaced by conflict as now”, he said.

Coronavirus Portal & News Updates

“We see more longer, crueler conflicts cause mounting hunger, as families flee their homes, their farms their fields and their livelihoods and they become dependent on the generosity on the hosts communities that themselves are in the precarious situation”.

He elaborated that Burkina Faso has experienced a ten-fold increase in forced displacement in just one year, saying, “nowhere else in the world” has such an escalation been seen.

To mitigate the humanitarian situation, Mr. Egeland made five “concrete asks”, beginning with “safe and unimpeded humanitarian access to everyone everywhere”.

He also stressed the need for stronger humanitarian diplomacy to reach people with assistance and to strengthen “deconfliction”, saying that by informing parties of protected humanitarian sites and aid convoys, humanitarians can deliver support without being attacked.

“Most importantly”, concluded Mr. Egeland, “there must be accountability for attacks on protected sites”.

©FAO/Christena Dowsett
In Kenya’s Siaya District, a farmer cultivates crops to pay for his children’s education.

Misleading the Sheep–Time To Debunk the Debunkers

David Icke: Pushing the Boundaries of Credibility

Pied Pipers Of The Truth Movement: Where Exactly Are They Trying To Lead Us?

Several of the previous articles on this blog have looked at the possibility that at least some of the high profile, celebrity, anti-New World Order researchers or campaigners are not quite what they seem. Others have also written on this subject as more people come to suspect that many of these ‘truthers’ are either shills or controlled opposition or at the very least deceived themselves into furthering the broader ‘New World Order’ agenda. Although it can’t hope to be a definitive summary of what it is happening in this regard, this article will try to look at just a few of the conclusions that can be reached from this realisation.

The first and perhaps most obvious conclusion we can reach is that a degree of disinformation is being purposefully disseminated. It’s not hard to see why this should be occurring. As the real agenda is being pursued it serves to confuse and divide those alert enough to know that something very wrong is taking place. Confusion is created by offering differing points of view as to what is happening. In the process any real truth tends to get lost in the haze of disinformation. That’s not to say a deeper understanding can’t be achieved but just that it’s a much harder task.
Many people balk at the idea of taking the, so called, ‘Protocols of the Elders of Zion’ seriously. Primarily this is because they are deemed to be ‘anti-Semitic’ and one of the justifications of the persecution of the Jewish people by Hitler. There are many suggestions as to who the authors of the ‘Protocols’ were. The Rothschilds, of course, leading freemasons including Albert Pike and even the Jesuits. In short, the authorship of the document is shrouded in mystery and even if it were proved beyond doubt that it was elite ‘Jewish’ Zionists that wrote it, that wouldn’t mean that all Jewish people were responsible or give cause to persecute them in any way. For example in Protocol 9 we read:
“Anti Semitism is indispensable to us for the management of our lesser brethren…” 
This alone proves that even if it was ‘elite’ Jews it certainly isn’t for the benefit of the majority. My own feelings are that they are unlikely to be a solely Jewish production for solely Jewish aims. The occult ‘elite’ behind the drive for spiritual and temporal control of the world and humanity operate through many fronts. They also use many of these fronts as a form of cover. Suggesting the Protocols are Jewish then slandering anyone who points out that they accurately reflect events in the world as ‘anti-Semitic’ is, perhaps, an example of that cover. The occult ‘elite’ comprises of both Jew and Gentile and the ordinary Jewish person is every bit as deceived and manipulated as anyone else in the ‘West’, even if, perhaps, in different ways. Anyone bothering to read the ‘Protocols’ for themselves soon sees a remarkable similarity between the words in them and what is happening at the present time.
The reason I mention this is because I want to use several quotes from the ‘Protocols’. For example, from Protocol 5 we read:
“In order to put public opinion into our hands we must bring it into a state of bewilderment by broadcasting so many contradictory opinions from all sides and for such a long time that it will make the Goyim lose their heads in a maze of confusion.  They will come to realise that the best thing is to have no opinion of any kind in political matters, especially when it is intended that the public should not understand the issues being discussed.  In that way the Goyim will leave the opinions and understanding of the issues to those who guide the public.  This is the first secret.”
As noted in the ‘Mass Immigration and the New Tower of Babel’ article, William Carr, the author of the unfinished, manuscript, written in 1959, called Satan: Prince of This World, discusses the meaning of the word ‘goyim’. Many believe it to mean gentiles or non-Jews. Carr suggested that its original meaning was ‘the masses or common people’ but then later became ‘lesser beings’ or ‘the mob’. He then notes that revered American freemason of the 33rd degree, Albert Pike, used the word to mean ‘human cattle’, which does appear to be the way the occult hierarchy thinks of us. Another quote that is pertinent to this discussion is from Protocol 12, where we read:
“… we shall set up our own, to all appearance, opposition, which, in at least one of its organs, will present what looks like the very antipodes to us. Our real opponents at heart will accept this simulated opposition as their own and will show us their cards..”
We can certainly see how the above plays out in the mainstream press and media and I think it would be naive to think that the’ so called’ alternative media’ is any different. As quoted before on this blog and many times elsewhere, Lenin said, “The best way to control the opposition is to lead it ourselves”. There’s little doubt that this is happening, all that’s open to debate is the scale of it. ‘Controlling the opposition’ allows several things to happen. What information is revealed and how and when it is done so, is determined by the very force that is supposedly being ‘exposed’. There’s been such a great amount of previously ‘suppressed’ information revealed in recent years that it begs the question why and why now? Not all the information being ‘released’ can be classified as disinformation, not by a long way. So what is the role being played by the likes of David IckeIan R CraneCharlie Veitch and others?
To some degree, particularly with regards to Icke, the role seems to be to bring the very idea of there being a ‘conspiracy’ of any sorts into disrepute. There is plenty in Icke’s lectures that is verifiably true. However it gets mixed in with outlandish claims about the ‘elite’, including the British royal family, as being ‘shape shifting lizards’. Throw in some other, equally strange, claims such as the moon being an artificial construct that serves as a base for a group of extraterrestrials that has been manipulating humanity for ‘aeons’ and it’s easy to see why any talk of a ‘New World Order’ is ridiculed by so many people. That’s not to say that Icke and others like him, still don’t attract many followers. Those prepared to ignore the doubts and ridicule and listen to what he has to say at his frequent lectures, or read one of his many books, are treated to an alternative version of ‘reality’ that is made to seem highly plausible, if not true. This is precisely because much of what Icke exposes and talks about is based on the truth. This begs the question, why reveal all this now when it would appear to be of more benefit to keep it all suppressed?
My suspicion or hypothesis, as I’ve partly discussed before, is that much of what purports to be the ‘anti-NWO truth movement’ is little more than a psy(chological)-op(eration) designed to do several things. Before we look at what those might be we should clarify what is meant by the ‘anti-NWO truth movement’. Not only are many of the celebrity ‘truth’ leaders’ controlled but so, it appears, are many of the ‘alternative’ news outlets, let alone the mainstream media ones. Information is fed through these ‘sources’ into the broader ‘truth’ movement where it is either regurgitated or commented on by the many other bloggers (myself included), researchers or activists that are attempting to resist the ‘New World Order’. The distinction then, is between the general ‘anti-NWO truth movement’ and those with a much higher profile. The one’s that are selling books and DVD’s, touring the world giving lectures or who even have their own iPhone app. None of which would be likely or even possible if they truly were a real threat to the established order.
As said previously, it appears that much is being ‘exposed’ on purpose. Writer Michael Hoffman suggests that this is something called the ‘Revelation of the Method’, the purpose of which is the implied consent of the populace. Hoffman’s claim is that:
“…if no resistance is raised when they reveal the truth, the cryptocracy is free to continue to follow their satanic precept, ‘do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law.’ In other words, when the cryptocracy reveal their evil manipulations and the majority of the people don’t care, it’s checkmate.”
This theory has more merit if we take the agenda that is unfolding at face value. That is, broadly speaking, that the New World Order develops as expected without any concealed twists or deceptions. It is though likely to be at least a part of how things are being played out. I’ve discussed many of the subjects related to, what is best described as the NWO, with lots of different people. Even with those who have shown an interest and not dismissed the idea completely, there aren’t any that have continued to look into things to any real degree. The idea is that by not resisting or even being so traumatised by events that we accept their ‘solutions’, we have made our choice. That is we have chosen by our own free will the new, Luciferian/Satanic, system being presented to us, though of course it may welll be disguised as something wonderful and the solution to all the problems They created in the first place.
Another context into which I think this ‘revealing’ can be placed is discussed by the Soviet defector Yuri Bezmenov. He described the KGB’s functions as being only around 15% traditional ‘spying’ with the rest being more general subversion tactics. He talks about the fourfold process of taking over a country. Step one is to cause a general demoralisation of the population, step two is to begin destabilise it, step three is to cause rebellion or insurgency and step four is the take over process which he describes as ‘normalisation’.  I found myself wondering if ‘exposure’ of the ‘NWO’ was being used as a tool to demoralise, destabilise and incite rebellion? As we’ll see it’s certainly possible, if not highly likely. In a similar vein the aim of the Cultural Marxists of the Frankfurt School was to undermine Western culture and values, or in the words of Willi Munzenberg, ‘make the West so corrupt it stinks’. Perhaps the steady stream of negative news stories that emanate from anti-NWO/alternative news sites in many ways serves this purpose. It’s not that most of these stories aren’t true but they serve the purpose of creating negative energy designed to demoralise, destabilise, incite us to anger and rebellion and to steer us in a preprepared direction.
Many of the sources of this ‘news’ fail to offer any concrete solutions beyond the need to blindly rebel. Alex Jones (see first picture) being a good example. He and others are also adept at spreading fear, despondency and hopelessness and leading their followers down many different rabbit holes. Anything but offer concrete solutions. When a solution is proposed it is usually along the lines of the need for us to unite because we are ‘all one consciousness’. David Icke is the perfect example of this. As we saw in the article ‘David Icke Debunked’, based on the film of the same name, Icke ‘exposes’ the NWO then uses this as a tool to herd the newly ‘awakened’ into the very Theosophical, New Age, false utopia that it seems has been the aim all along.
This use of deceptive language or seductive, tempting ideas to manipulate people in a particular direction is an important thing to be very aware of. Perhaps another quote from the ‘Protocols’ can provide us with a good example of how feel good buzzwords and high principles are intentionally misused by the occult oligarchy.
“Far back in ancient times we were the first to cry among the masses of the people the words “Liberty, Equality, Fraternity,” words many times repeated since these days by stupid poll-parrots who, from all sides around, flew down upon these baits and with them carried away the well-being of the world, true freedom of the individual, formerly so well guarded against the pressure of the mob.”
“In all corners of the earth the words “Liberty, Equality, Fraternity,” brought to our ranks, thanks to our blind agents, whole legions who bore our banners with enthusiasm. And all the time these words were canker-worms at work boring into the well-being of the GOYIM, putting an end everywhere to peace, quiet, solidarity and destroying all the foundations of the GOY States.”
The words ‘Liberty, Equality, Fraternity’ will be instantly recognised as the national motto of France, with its roots in the French revolution. A revolution that, when investigated carefully, appears to have very different causes and aims than the accepted history books suggest. It becomes clear that one or other of the many fronts the occult oligarchy operate through were at work in those times, with freemasonry being, perhaps, the most obvious. This is not the place to dissect that particular event but suffice to say the the study of the French revolution should provide a cautionary tale for all those tempted by violent ‘revolution’.
One more perspective can be gleaned from a section taken from the book ‘The First Global Revolution’, published in 1993 by the globalist think tank, the Club of Rome. The book makes the observation that:
“… divided nations require common enemies to unite them … either a real one or else one invented for the purpose.” 
This tactic of creating an external enemy to unite the populace has been used by the occult oligarchy for centuries. One of the benefits, of course, is that while the people’s focus is elsewhere, they don’t have time for thoughts of rebellion against their rulers. Most often these ‘enemies’ have been other countries or peoples. The book comes to the conclusion that ‘because of the sudden absence of traditional enemies, new ones must be identified’.
“In searching for a new enemy to unite us, we came up with the idea that pollution, the threat of global warming, water shortages, famine and the like would fit the bill….All these dangers are caused by human intervention, and it is only through changed attitudes and behaviour that they can be overcome. The real enemy then, is humanity itself.”
How this fits in with the ‘global warming/climate change’ scam is another story, but what I began to wonder was, is the NWO itself, as perhaps commonly understood, a form of fabricated enemy that is being used to ‘unite’ us? An ‘evil’ NWO that is simultaneously being associated with the Western system in general, with perhaps a specific emphasis on Britain and America? Is this ‘evil’ NWO part of the process of demoralisation and destabilisation? Is it part of an overall effort to get us to ‘rise up’ and ‘bring down the system’? We can see how many elements be they left wing, libertarian, anarchist or anti-NWO are being encouraged to rebel or revolt. If they truly want to bring in a New World Order then the old order has to be destroyed first. Who better to do that than us and by doing so give consent to what replaces it? If the aim is a sort of year zero, a fresh start, a New Order, New Age or New Earth, then all of the old ways need to be jettisoned and done away with. Perhaps this is why so much is being ‘exposed’. It’s all part of the ‘old system’ that is being ‘replaced’ anyway.
Theosophist and Luciferian, Alice A Bailey hinted at this interpretation of the agenda when she said:
“The New World Order must be appropriate to a world which has passed through a destructive crisis and to a humanity which is badly shattered by the experience…  [It] must lay the foundation for a future world order which will be possible only after a time of recovery, of reconstruction, and of rebuilding.”
As an aside, with this in mind I remembered something the researcher Alan Watt once said. He said that throughout history the power centres of the ruling elite have periodically shifted. This is done when the old one has been worn out and served its purpose. Before the shift takes place the old centre is subtly destroyed so that it can no pose no threat to the new one. Many suggest that it is Britain that is one of the centres of power in the New World Order agenda and has been for a considerable period. Looking at Britain today it’s hard not to see it as being slowly destroyed, a death by a thousand cuts. Mass immigration is relentless and can only result in the genocide of the English, the main population of the British Isles. Our manufacturing and industry has been slowly exported, our armed forces sacrificed in wars that only serve the occult oligarchy and of course there’s the slow but sure subjugation by the European Union to name but a few of the cuts we are facing. Is this all part of a process that sees Britain, America and by extension Europe and the ‘West’ in general, being set up as a sort of scapegoat for the real New World Order. By this I mean the people of Britain, the indigenous English, Irish, Scottish and Welsh and their democratic, Christian heritage, both of which are targets of the occult hierarchy. At the very least, it’s a possibility that should be considered.
The Freemasons have a motto, ‘Ordo Ab Chao’ which essentially means order out of chaos. The charge is that the chaos will be created by Them so that They can shape the subsequent (New) Order. This seems to be what Bailey is describing in the previous quote. She was a founder of the Lucis Trust, which was originally called the Lucifer Publishing Company. On their website we read of something called ‘World Goodwill’ which is described as an ‘activity’ of theirs. It says:
“World Goodwill is an accredited non-governmental organisation with the Department of Public Information of the United Nations. It maintains informal relations with certain of the Specialised Agencies and with a wide range of national and international non-governmental organisations. World Goodwill is an activity of the Lucis Trust, which is on the Roster of the United Nations Economic and Social Council.”
Elsewhere on the ‘World Goodwill’ page of the Lucis Trust website we read.
“This is a time of preparation not only for a new civilisation and culture in a New World Order, but also for the coming of a new spiritual dispensation.”
I’ve previously equated the ‘evil NWO’ with Orwell’s 1984. This is what we have been trained to think it’s all about. As it develops it creates and puts in place all the necessary building blocks and globalist structures for the real NWO, the false, New Age, utopia. This will be a lot more like Aldous Huxley’s, Brave New World where the majority of humanity has become ‘a population of slaves who do not have to coerced, because they love their servitude’.
Bailey was the third head of the Theosophical society after the Fabian and occultist Annie Besant and the founder of the movement Helena Blavatsky. It’s well documented that Blavatsky revered ‘Lucifer’. She even created and edited a magazine of the same name. In her book ‘The Secret Doctrine’ she wrote:
“Lucifer represents..Life..Thought..Progress..Civilisation..Liberty..Independence.. Lucifer is the Logos.. the Serpent, the Saviour.”
“The Celestial Virgin which thus becomes the Mother of Gods and Devils at one and the same time; for she is the ever-loving beneficent Deity…but in antiquity and reality Lucifer or Luciferius is the name. Lucifer is divine and terrestrial Light, ‘the Holy Ghost’ and ‘Satan’ at one and the same time.”
“It is Satan who is the God of our planet and the only God.” 
It is supposed that the ‘destructive’ crises will likely involve some sort of banking and economic collapse that will inevitably be followed by food and energy sources becoming restricted. These in turn will likely trigger violent protests and a greater degree of disorder on the streets. Then there’s what appears to be the seemingly inevitable war in the Middle East, centred around Israel. A war that could easily escalate into a wider World War Three involving Israel, America, Britain (with perhaps a large part of the Commonwealth) and much of Europe on the one side and many Islamic nations supported by China, Russia and a few other nations friendly to them on the other side. I don’t for one minute think that either Islam, China or Russia are ‘anti-NWO’. They are as controlled as any of the countries in the ‘West’. In previous wars it has become apparent that They have controlled both sides and I don’t doubt this will be any different.
A New World (Order) system must involve the uniting of West and East. In order for that to happen a significant number in the West have to become disillusioned with their system and see it as not worth fighting for. A disillusionment in part fed by the ‘alternative media’ as well as the policies being pursued by the political ‘elite’. Out of the ashes (chaos) of the destroyed ‘old order’ (a corrupted, demoralised and degraded ‘West’ masquerading as the New World Order) will rise the ‘phoenix’ that will be the new system. This will be the ‘order’ from Their chaos. In her book ‘A Treatise on the Seven Rays’, Vol. 5, p. 309, Alice A, Bailey states:
“This process whereby civilisation periodically re-makes itself can be profoundly unsettling for those who live through it. This is especially true now, as the process accelerates. Moreover, people now live longer, and may expect to see many more changes in their life than previous generations. So, as the many changes accumulate, they may even come to feel that the civilisation they were born into is dying, and being replaced by something quite alien.”
‘Profoundly unsettling for those who live through it’ reminds of a quote from H. G. Wells in his book, ‘The New World Order’.
“… when the struggle seems to be drifting definitely towards a world social democracy, there may still be very great delays and disappointments before it becomes an efficient and beneficent world system. Countless people … will hate the new world order … and will die protesting against it. When we attempt to evaluate its promise, we have to bear in mind the distress of a generation or so of malcontents, many of them quite gallant and graceful-looking people.”
The previous quote from Bailey was used in a section of the Lucis Trust website entitled ‘Phoenix Rising – the Re-birth of Civilisation’ where Bailey further remarked that:
“Dying civilisations are present in their final forms whilst new civilisations are emerging; cycles come and go and in the going overlap”.
Make no mistake our ‘civilisation’ isn’t just dying, it is being intentionally destroyed by the occult oligarchy that Bailey was, if not a part of, then in service to. Many of the problems in the world, particularly the wars, will be largely blamed on nationalism (nation states) and religion, both of which will be seen as ‘problems’ to be solved. This new system will, of course, be sold to us as the end of all wars, justice for all, sharing, equality etc but will actually be the very (Luciferian/Satanic) New Order/Age communitarianism the ruling ‘elite’ wanted all along and have been planning for a very long time. Here it’s worth quoting again from the ‘Protocols’:
“When we have accomplished our coup d’etat we shall say then to the various peoples: ‘Everything has gone terribly badly, all have been worn out with suffering. We are destroying the causes of your torment – nationalities, frontiers, differences of coinages.’”
Yuri Bezmenov described a similar scenario.
“And after crisis, with a violent change in power, structure, and economy, you have the period of so-called normalisation [that] will last indefinitely. Normalisation is a cynical expression borrowed from Soviet propaganda. When the Soviet tanks moved into Czechoslovakia in ’68, Brezhnev said, ‘now brother Czechoslovakia is normalised.’ This is what will happen in the United States if you allow all these schmucks to promise all the goodies and paradise on earth…”
That’s exactly how it seems it will play out on a wider scale. A traumatised humanity promised ‘all the goodies and paradise on earth’, a false utopia or ‘New Age’, will fall into the carefully prepared trap that is the real New World Order. This will be a humanity already brainwashed and indoctrinated into the Satanic/Luciferian occultism of the ‘elite’ by years of propaganda and perception management (brainwashing). This is particularly true of the young, as we saw in the last but one article, ‘The Entire Humanity Must Be Reprogrammed’. In it we read about Dr. Robert Muller, the former Assistant Secretary General of the United Nations for 40 years, who is considered by many to be ‘the philosopher of the United Nations’. He set up something called the ‘The Robert Muller School’, officially a branch of The School of Ageless Wisdom, founded in 1974 by Gloria Crook. She was an Alice A. Bailey admirer and one of Muller’s close friends. Muller was responsible for the creation of something called the ‘World Core Curriculum’ that formed the basis and inspiration for the UN’s global education movement. In the preface to the book it says:
“The underlying philosophy upon which The Robert Muller School is based will be found in the teachings set forth in the books of Alice A. Bailey by the Tibetan teacher, Djwhal Khul (published by Lucis Publishing Co.).”
Djwhal Khul
‘Djwhal Khul’ is the ‘ascended master’ said to have dictated many of Bailey’s books. As author Gary Kah pointed out:
“As difficult as it may be to believe, the U.N.’s global education of the future is being openly modelled after the teaching of a Luciferic trance-channeller and her demonic spirit guide.”
On the Robert Muller website we can read the following:
“An educator wrote to me: ‘Through your world core curriculum, the world’s teachers can now have access to the soul of every man, woman and child on this planet.’ I hope this will be the case….. The entire humanity must be reprogrammed through a right global inducation (Latin ex-ducare, to lead out, in-ducare, to lead into).”
This, it seems, is part of the preparation that Bailey spoke about as being necessary ‘for a new civilisation and culture in a New World Order [and] the coming of a new spiritual dispensation.’ A preparation that is taking place, along with much else, under the auspices of the UN.
We can only speculate what the new system will be. Some observers think the end game is for the China/Russia/Islam axis to ‘win’ and for the West to be subsumed into the Communist system. It’s a possibility I suppose. The ruling ‘elite’ have certainly gone a long way towards building China up as an economic and military power. Would this have the desired ‘utopian’ effect though? I somehow doubt it. It would still have large numbers, particularly in the West, fully aware that they were enslaved. Although there are doubts as to the authenticity of the infamous ‘Albert Pike, World War Three’ letter it does give us an insight into how things could play out. Even if it were a forgery it would seem it has been released and distributed to serve a purpose. More ‘revelation of the method’ perhaps? In it we read the following:
“The Third World War must be fomented by taking advantage of the differences caused by the ‘agentur’ of the “Illuminati” between the political Zionists and the leaders of Islamic World. The war must be conducted in such a way that Islam (the Moslem Arabic World) and political Zionism (the State of Israel) mutually destroy each other. Meanwhile the other nations, once more divided on this issue will be constrained to fight to the point of complete physical, moral, spiritual and economical exhaustion…We shall unleash the Nihilists and the atheists, and we shall provoke a formidable social cataclysm which in all its horror will show clearly to the nations the effect of absolute atheism, origin of savagery and of the most bloody turmoil. Then everywhere, the citizens, obliged to defend themselves against the world minority of revolutionaries, will exterminate those destroyers of civilization, and the multitude, disillusioned with Christianity, whose deistic spirits will from that moment be without compass or direction, anxious for an ideal, but without knowing where to render its adoration, will receive the true light through the universal manifestation of the pure doctrine of Lucifer, brought finally out in the public view. This manifestation will result from the general reactionary movement which will follow the destruction of Christianity and atheism, both conquered and exterminated at the same time.” 
A situation where neither ‘win’ but all are utterly demoralised, exhausted and traumatised seems more likely. If humanity is presented with a new ‘system’ that promises fairness, equality and most of all peace (Liberty, Equality, Fraternity?), the majority will eagerly embrace it, Luciferian or otherwise. At time of incredible crises such as described above most of humanity will have had their paradigms shattered and at such moments all are vulnerable to new ‘programming’.
Another ‘psy-ops’ directed by the ‘ruling elite’ is the Zeitgeist series of films that used something called the Venus Project as a proposed future for mankind. As we saw in the article ‘New Age Communism: The ‘Zeitgeist’ Agenda’ writer Richard Evans described the Zeitgeist/Venus Project ‘solution’ as ‘Communism repackaged to rope in the 21st century truth seeker’. It seems that something along these lines seems far more likely to be the proposed ‘solution’. A cashless, collectivist (communitarian) global system presented as the end to war and ‘fair’ to all. The only way this will be possible is if first the concepts of free trade (capitalism in its true sense as opposed to the monopoly capitalism/cartelism we have today), money (as in cash, notes, coins etc) and nation states are destroyed. All of these things are currently being presented as ‘the problem’ with nation states (and religions) being cited as the main reason for any future Middle East clash and wider, subsequent, conflict. We also have the continuing saga that is the banking and financial system. It appears to be on a ‘life support’ of some sort, kept alive to crash at the opportune moment. By that time nobody will be left in any doubt that it has to ‘change’. That change will be further moves towards a truly global currency and financial system if not the very thing itself. Indeed the banking system, as does the ‘New World Order currently being ‘exposed’, appears to be designed to fail. A huge problem, reaction, solution maybe?
The ‘communitarian’ solution that looks likely to form the political and economic basis of the real New World Order has been described as a synthesis of communism and ‘capitalism’ similar to what has recently developed in China. It’s been suggested that China is a model for the new system, socialism for the masses and monopoly capitalism for the ‘elite’ few. This theory is perhaps bolstered by a quote from David Rockefeller in an article entitled ‘From a China Traveler’, which appeared in the New York Time on August 10, 1973. He wrote:
“Whatever the price of the Chinese Revolution, it has obviously succeeded not only in producing more efficient and dedicated administration, but also in fostering high morale and community of purpose. The social experiment in China under Chairman Mao’s leadership is one of the most important and successful in human history.”
He wrote it after visiting China earlier that year. It was later in 1973 that he created the globalist organisation the Trilateral Commission. Of course the ‘social experiment’ incurred multiple millions of deaths in China which was then a communist dictatorship. Whether or not China can still be described as communist is debatable but it is still a dictatorship. Regardless this is a system that is greatly admired by globalists and world government advocates such as David Rockefeller.
As hinted at above, there are also spiritual deceptions at play in the ‘exposure’ of the New World Order by the, so called, ‘truth movement’. In fact it seems that it’s the spiritual element of the agenda that is the most important and attracts the most deceptions. Even if I made the claim that I knew what they all were (I certainly don’t) unravelling them in a blog post would be impossible. To a large extent this is an area where we are all on our own and each of us has to make our own mind up. That said there are a few glaringly obvious deceptions and we can, perhaps, get an idea of the general direction that They are trying to steer us, though perhaps not in any great detail.
We’ve already discussed the ‘oneness’ meme, promoted by the likes of David Icke and others. It’s fairly self evident that if you want a world government or new world system that you need to find a way to get people to unite. In much the same way that one of the previous ‘protocols’ quotes highlighted the deceptive misuse of the term ‘Liberty, Equality, Fraternity’ in order to mislead people, it seems a similar play is at work with the cry for ‘oneness’. In the case of Icke, Crane and others this false unity has theosophic (masonic) and new age overtones. Make no mistake, any attempts to reduce or stop altogether the many conflicts in the world is a good thing but that’s very different from the promotion of the idea that ‘we are all one consciousness’. Most, if not all, of those conflicts are either caused by, or greatly exacerbated by, the very occult ‘elite’ that now attempting to provide the ‘solutions’ to them.
Hand in hand with the cries for oneness is the idea we are all about to experience a ‘consciousness shift’. This is heavily tied in with the general new age movement but more specifically with the ‘end of the Mayan calendar/2012 meme. One of the features of this deception is that what we are witnessing now is just the old order crumbling away and the painful birth pangs of a wondrous new (order) age. In fact we don’t have to do anything about the old order and their attempts at world control because they are destined to fail. A careful reading of this sees that it ties in with the theory outlined above. That is the New Word Order, as presented to us today, is being equated with the old order and that it is intended to fail. When it does the real New World Order or New Age will arrive.
Tony Blair once said, in a speech entitled ‘Faith and Globalisation’, that:
“… the forces shaping the world at this moment are so strong and all tend in one direction.” 
They are strong and tending in one direction because they are part of the occult oligarchy’s drive to create a New World Order. The forces may be either spiritual or worldly but they are all moving the same way under the control and guidance of the ruling ‘elite’. Whether it be the ‘oneness’ meme, mass immigration, the EU or the global warming scam, they are all part of the same, truly evil, agenda.
 
Blair is a willing and key servant of this occult oligarchy. He served his globalist masters well during his time as Prime Minister of Britain and he’s continued to do so since he left. One of his new roles is the creation of the ‘Tony Blair Faith Foundation’. Unsurprisingly we read the usual feel-good platitudes that his foundation aims to promote ‘respect and understanding’ between the world’s religions. All well and good you might think but look a little deeper and it’s clear that there’s more going on here than meets they eye. It has to be seen in the context of the ecumenical drive for the unifying of the world’s religions. This movement is seen by many as being led by Rome.
The fact that Tony Blair converted to Roman catholicism when he left office does little to cast doubts on this.
If a unity of the world’s religions is to take place then it’s inevitable that this will involve a form of compromise. In the speech mentioned above Blair spoke of the ‘extremist and exclusionary tendency’ within religions. We can already begin to see that anyone who resists this process is likely to be labelled with similar terms. From David Icke and the Zeitgeist films within the ‘truth movement’ and elsewhere within the broader new age movement, we’ve seen attempts to undermine and discredit Christianity. Of course the attempts by Zeitgeist and others have been thoroughly debunked but it does serve to show how Christianity, if not Jesus himself, is a target of the occultists. Realising this is only part of the story though, Christianity has itself been infiltrated and false teachers abound. Of course the Bible predicts that such events would occur but even so, seeing clearly through the many deceptions is far from easy.
One of the areas used to deceive that is relevant to what we’re discussing here is the interpretation of Biblical prophecy. This area has long been debated and has an interesting history. Most, if not all, of the main protagonists in the Protestant Reformation pointed to the Papacy as being anti-Christ, a view with which many still concur. They had what was broadly referred to as a ‘historical’ view of prophecy. That saw it as an unfolding process throughout history that would culminate in the future with Jesus Christ’s second coming. Essentially there were two other interpretations, ‘preterism’ and ‘futurism’. The preterist sees all, or most, of prophecy as having already happened whilst the futurist sees almost all of it as happening in the future. Discussing the various elements of all three beliefs would take far too long. One thing that is significant though is that although the historical view was once the most widespread, that has now been replaced with a futurist or dispensationalist interpretation. Part of this view sees the creation of the state of Israel as evidence of prophecy unfolding. The futurist model, broadly speaking, foretells of a coming one-world dictator, the anti-Christ, who will makes a Treaty or Covenant with the ‘Jews’, then break it after 31/2 years and who is then worshipped in a rebuilt Jewish Temple, from which he will impose the Mark of the Beast. If nothing else I’ve come to the conclusion that this is an incorrect view of prophecy and is being used to deceive. It’s not the only part but it is does seem to be an important element of the ‘end times’ delusion. It’s worth noting that it seems a key aim of freemasonry is to see a rebuilt Temple of Solomon and this interpretation of prophecy does appear to be a possible way to bring this about. There’s strong evidence that suggests that Israel and Jerusalem in particular, is intended to be the spiritual centre of the proposed new world system.
Even if you’re not a Bible believer it’s worth considering that the ‘forces shaping this world’ may be using a false interpretation of prophecy to help bring about their aims. To not get caught up in the deceptions that are likely to abound will take a great deal of discernment by each and every one of us. As has been noted earlier and in several of the articles on this blog Alice A Bailey, the third leader of the theosophists, has played and through her legacy continues to play, a decisive role in the spiritual dimension of the New World Order agenda. On the Lucis Trust website we read:
‘Maitreya’  allegedly appearing
before crowds in Nairobi in 1988
“Humanity is not following an uncharted course. There is a divine Plan in the Cosmos of which we are a part. At the end of an age human resources and established institutions seem inadequate to meet world needs and problems. At such a time the advent of a Teacher, a spiritual leader or Avatar, is anticipated and invoked by the masses of humanity in all parts of the world….. Today the reappearance of the World Teacher, the Christ, is expected by millions, not only by those of Christian faith but by those of every faith who expect the Avatar under other names — the Lord Maitreya, Krishna, Messiah, Imam Mahdi and the Bodhisattva.”
Of course Christianity is expecting the return of Jesus Christ and not the false ‘christ’ suggested by Bailey. It seems though that some sort of spiritual leader may well be presented as the saviour of a humanity traumatised by war and a whole host of other ‘tribulations’. Taking this, the focus on Israel and the rebuilding of the Temple and the drive to unite the religions all into account, there’s another possible scenario to look out for. The author of this article attended a lecture by someone called Bill Lambert who was the ‘New England Director of the House of Theosophy’. The lecture was entitled ‘Possible and Probable Events in the Future’. Amongst other revelations, what was foreseen was the building of a combined Temple, Church and Mosque in Jerusalem where the Theosophical ‘christ’ would be received. This scenario would obviously come about only after Alice A Baliley’s ‘destructive crisis’ had swept the world and would form part of her ‘period of reconstruction’. Such an endeavour makes more sense in terms of trying to unite the world’s religions in a new ‘one world’ system.
The issue of being directed by ‘entities’ is a long and difficult one. As well as guiding the likes of Bailey and her predecessor Blavatsky, we’ve also seen that they are ‘guiding’ many that are involved in the new age, 2012 and truth movements. People such as David Icke, Jordan Maxwell and David Wilcock all purport to be in contact with ‘entities’. Whether they be ascended masters, Ra or the Pleiadians they all seem to be saying a similar thing and attempting to move humanity in a particular direction. By their fruits shall ye know them and the deceptive nature of these ‘entities’ lends support to the idea that they are demonic spirits. A difficult concept to grasp for sure but one that the evidence suggests could well be true. When we look at how the entities, said to be guiding David Icke, are supposedly exposing the New World Order it seems there is only one conclusion. It is being deliberately revealed and simultaneously associated with the current systems of government, mainly in the ‘Western’ world. We are at the same time being encouraged to ‘unite’ (into one) and ‘rise up’ against this evil New World Order in order to destroy it. This process will contribute to the chaos out of which the Freemasonic/Theosophic, Satanic/Luciferian order will be imposed. The ‘evil’ New World Order’s role is really to put in place the apparatus for the real one which is the false utopia that will be presented after whatever cataclysms and crises they’ve got lined up and the ‘evil’ New World Order has been ‘defeated’. As well as being constantly fed with information about this ‘evil’ New World Order many are at the same time being simultaneously steered towards a sort of New Age/Masonic/Theosophic way of thinking. This will in turn form part of the new, occult, spiritual system of the New Age. Some have observed that this is what Bailey described as the ‘Externalisation of the Hierarchy’.
Anyone reading this may well say, what can we do. I only wish I had some concrete answers. The problem that faces us is that the majority dismiss the idea of there being any sort of conspiracy. Their rebellion, if at all, will be of a purely political nature and to a large extent of the left wing variety. It’s here I should mention one other, possible, twist in the tale. Writer Lee Penn sees the possibility that whilst at the moment most may see the danger as coming from a ‘leftist’ and ‘new age’ New World Order that an ‘unexpected peril’ may well be the emergence of a ‘rightist’ seemingly Christian one. This is essentially a variation on the idea of a false New World Order being seen to be ‘defeated’ then replaced by the false utopia planned all along. This theory sees the occult, theosophic and new age elements also ‘exposed’ and and a swing in the, seemingly, opposite direction is then manipulated. This ‘Christian’ New World Order would be an inversion of true Christianity and would take the form of a sort of theocratic dictatorship that promised to save us from the New World Order. Penn quotes the writer C.S. Lewis as saying:
“The loftier the pretensions of the power, the more meddlesome, inhuman, and oppressive it will be.  Theocracy is the worst of all possible governments… “
He also refers to Matthew 24: 24 in the Bible:
“For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect”
The point being that Biblical prophecy says that many true Christians will be deceived during the ‘end times’ and the scenario outlined by Penn is one way in which this might happen.
So what can we do. We appear to face a ‘hydra-headed’ monster that operates through numerous fronts. Those willing to do the research are faced with a, sometimes, bewildering amount of information and theories that shows any number of groups or organisations involved in the agenda. It seems that, to a large degree, this has been done on purpose and is part of the game being played. Some will say the capstone is the hierarchy of the Vatican, along with the likes of the Jesuits and the Knights of Malta. Others say it’s the Zionists, the Talmudic and Cabbalistic Jewish elite along with the international bankers, possibly including the British Israel movement. It seems that somehow the Crown or City of London fits into this nexus, along with the royal and aristocratic bloodline families, mainly of Europe, perhaps with the Saxe-Coburg-Gotha’s, our won royal family, at the top of that particular tree. Then there’s the secret society networks that include certain Freemasonic groups as well as the likes of Skull and Bones or the Ordo Templi Orientis. On a political level some will point to international communism or the Fabian socialists. Then there are the numerous organisations and think tanks such as the Bilderbergers, the Council on Foreign Relations and the Club of Rome, funded by the multi-billionaire ‘capitalists’ such as the Rockefellers. Essentially, it seems they are all, on one level, controlled and part of the same agenda. These are the ‘forces’ Tony Blair said were shaping the world. The question debated is who controls who? Can we know for sure? I’m not sure we can. My own best guess is that we can look to the Bible for an idea of what it is we face. A synthesis of the ‘Synagogue of Satan’ (those who ‘say they are Jews, and are not’) and ‘Rome’ with both having their roots in Babylon and in conjunction with the ‘bloodlines’.
Attempts to ‘take on’ these forces at the current time may well be doomed to failure if for no other reason than the majority of people would dismiss the idea of there being an agenda of any sort, let alone the people mentioned being involved. There’s a far greater appetite for some sort of major political change because most can’t see past that level of control. The levers of power are pulled at a much higher level than a mere politician. Any solution that doesn’t acknowledge that isn’t going to meet with any real success.
On an individual level we can strive and even pray for, discernment in the coming tribulations. Each one of us has to come to our own conclusions about what we face and how we can avoid the carefully prepared traps. Any collective solution is hampered by the numerous deceptions that abound. My own thoughts are that instead of some sort of direct action against those we perceive as being the New World Order architects we should try and ‘call their bluff’, so to speak. Instead of just blindly rebelling without any real thoughts to a workable alternative we would need a clear idea of what it is we were fighting for. Perhaps a declaration, modelled on the American Declaration of Independence, could be sought. A document that not only stated what our aims were but also the reasons why the declaration was necessary. A secondary document could then provide the evidence for those stated reasons. Part of the original declaration would have to acknowledge the need for a constitutional review of some sort. The Chartists movement of the 19th century could provide inspiration. One example of such an effort appears to be already happening, though it appears unlikely that the ‘hidden hand’ of the ruling occult ‘elite’ has been acknowledged. It is still worth keeping an eye on though. Although there are groups, such as the BCG, out there encouraging a return to our constitution it’s by no means clear that that constitution has ever truly served the interests of us all or whether it was for the benefit of just the elect few.
This would be no easy task at the best of times and it’s beyond my capabilities to attempt to draft anything that would suffice. Collectively this might be possible but by whom and how. As we’ve seen we are being encouraged to rise up, rebel and revolt. This is seen as necessary because of what’s wrong rather than being driven by a clear vision of an alternative to the current malaise. A blind rebellion can only play into the hands of the occult oligarchy. A declaration with which, if not all but at least most, agreed could serve as a rallying point and attempts to fulfil it could be made without resort to violence. Any suggestions along these lines would be gratefully received. In the meantime we can only educate ourselves and attempt to unravel the tangled web that has been woven.
If even a small number manage to see through the innumerable layers of deception then we may yet have a chance of defeating the New World Order dream of the occultists who control this world. Returning to Bible prophecy there’s many who will be aware that something, at least very similar to what is happening now, is predicted in there. As mentioned earlier it does appear that there’s an attempt by the ruling ‘elite’ to make a version of it seem to be coming ‘true’. What then of the real thing. In recent months I’ve found myself drawn ever closer to the words and teachings of Jesus, particularly in the Gospels. A situation I never dreamt possible not too long ago. It’s a Christianity not reflected in the organised churches, especially in the Catholic Church or Church of England. I’ve no qualms in saying that we are in, what can only be described as, a battle between good and evil. Perhaps even a battle for the soul and destiny of mankind. So should I, or anyone professing to be a Christian, just sit back and wait for prophecy to unfold? Safe in the knowledge that Satan (the opposer) will eventually get his just deserts. It seems to me the answer is no. Firstly it would be incorrect to assume that these are the predicted ‘end times’, which is not to say that we shouldn’t be alert to the possibility that they are. Evil is always to be resisted and the unnecessary wars, false flag ‘terrorist’ attacks, engineered economic and banking ‘collapses’, wholesale brainwashing of the population, lies, deceit and manipulations of our self appointed ‘elite’ rulers can’t be described as anything but evil. How we resist is for us all to decide for ourselves, but we must all be very wary of not inadvertently serving the very cause we thought we were opposing.
These are times like no other. When I survey the world around me, particularly ‘modern’ Britain, I really can’t help but feel that only divine intervention can help us now.

States Reopening Provides Govt. Excuse To Cut-Off Unemployment

[Ohio tells companies to report employees who refuse to return to work once their jobs become available and says they will not be eligible for unemployment benefit]

Reopening Isn’t Reopening—It’s Cutting Off Unemployment

Posted on  by 

Yves here. This post illustrates why the propaganda misrepresenting both the death rate cost and the poor economic performance of Sweden, which has imposed few coronavirus restrictions, is being weaponized. The spin is that workers are suffering economically. While that is true, reopening won’t restore old normal levels of activity, and many enterprises will still be struggling. Nor will reopening necessarily lead employers to make conditions safer for their workers. But as this article points out, it would allow states to cut benefits.

By Peter Dorman, professor of economics at The Evergreen State College. Originally published at Econospeak

Donald Trump, cheering on his “warriors” who demand that states lift their lockdown and distancing orders (where they have them), would have you believe this is about bringing the economy back to life so ordinary people can get their jobs and normal lives back.  Elitist liberals who work from home and have country estates to retreat to don’t care, but “real” people do.

The reality is different.  The shuttering of stores, restaurants, hotels and workplaces didn’t begin with government orders and won’t end with them.  If the rate of new infection and death is too high, a lot of people won’t go along.  Not everyone, but enough to make a huge economic difference.  Ask any small business owner what it would mean for demand to drop by 25-50%.  Lifting government orders won’t magically restore the economic conditions of mid-winter.

So what’s it about?  Even as it makes a big PR show of supporting state by state “liberation” in America, the Trump administration is advising state governments on how to remove workers from unemployment insurance once orders are lifted.  Without government directives, employers can demand workers show up, and if they refuse they no longer qualify.  And why might workers refuse?  Perhaps because their workplaces are still unsafe and they have vulnerable family members they want to keep from getting infected?  Not good enough—once the state has been “liberated”.

How should we respond to this travesty?  First, of course, by telling the truth that an anti-worker, anti-human campaign is being conducted under the guise of defending workers.  If the Democrats weren’t themselves such a tool of business interests we might hear that narrative from them, but the rest of us are free to speak out and should start doing it, loudly, wherever we can.

Second, one of the laws of the land is the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, which gives workers the right to refuse imminently hazardous work.  This hasn’t been used very often, nor is there much case law around it, but the current pandemic is a good reason to pull it out of storage.  If there are public interest law firms looking for something useful to do during distancing, they could advertise their willingness to defend workers who need to stay home until work is safe—while still getting their paycheck.  If employers thought the choice was between public support for workers sitting out the pandemic or their support for them we might hear less about “liberation”.

Global Lockdown Demand Exceeds Internet Capacity, Thus the Daily Outages

Global internet outages reach a record high during the coronavirus lockdown as broadband operators tinker with networks to meet increased demand from people working from home

[2 local Internet provider maps Spectrum, Suddenlink:]

Global internet outages reach new high

29 April 2020 | Melanie Mingas

Cover

Internet outages around the world reached new record levels last week, despite relatively strong performance from global networks during the first weeks of Covid-19 lockdowns.

The data, compiled and published by ThousandEyes, showed UK outages increased 62% and global outages 11% since week commencing April 13.

When the global outages are compared to week commencing April 6, which saw a dip, total events were up 77%.

One noteworthy outage during the week involved Tata Communications’ network infrastructure across Europe and India, with outages affecting 80 network interfaces across multiple regions and cities.

Cloud providers were also affected, despite a recent two-week downward trend, with outage levels spiking to those last seen in late March. The UK compared well in this respect with its cloud provider outages limited to two occasions. It also did relatively well on the collaboration app front. Here, network outages continued to trend upward globally for the second week in a row, but in the UK they returned to zero.

“Network outages rose throughout March, reaching previously unseen levels. While these numbers fell in early April, they [have] returned to March levels since then. The number of outages seen last week may represent our ‘new normal,’ although, it may be too early to tell,” Angelique Medina, director, product marketing, ThousandEyes.

“Last week specifically, there were several large-scale outages that contributed to the increase. Tata Communications experienced an outage that affected its infrastructure across the UK, France, Germany, and even India, with the effects felt by users attempting to reach services like Amazon, ServiceNow and Oracle Cloud. The outage was fairly lengthy, lasting approximately 20 minutes and involved more than 80 network interfaces across multiple regions and cities. In the US, CenturyLink’s Level 3 network suffered a major disruption due to fibre cuts, which impacted users and businesses throughout multiple regions of the United States,” she added.

The figures suggest the brief respite in outages over recent weeks was an anomaly rather than a downward trend.

 

As the world went into Covid-19 lockdowns in March global outages were at an “all time high”, only dropping below 300 in the week March 30 – April 5. That week, global outages were down 9.13% from the previous week, and US outages were down 16%. However, the majority of these were due to upgrade work, with impact limited.

“The duration and scope of many of the outages that did take place suggest that they were the result of network operators making changes to optimise performance as traffic levels increased. In the week of April 6, we saw a dramatic drop in US outage events by more than 44%. Given that traffic volume has plateaued, we very well may be looking at a return to outage levels seen before Covid-19,” Medina added.

As Capacity reported last week, it is hoped that traffic levels may start to slow.

“What we have seen is an accelerated evolution – yearly traffic growths being achieved in a matter of weeks, sometimes even days. It is unlikely that the extraordinary traffic increases will continue.

“However, many networks are already operating at 20%-40% over their pre-pandemic traffic levels, especially when looking at the peak traffic times, for example weekend evenings when the usage of streaming video on demand is greatest,” said Craig Labovitz, CTO for Nokia Deepfield.

“Give me a beer and a Coronavirus Chaser”

[Yesterday Columbus, Ohio (Franklin County) reported 4,227 Covid cases, it will be interesting to see the results of Gov. Dewine’s social safety experiment in about 2 weeks (approx. incubation period).  We should all anticipate an upsurge in cases at that time…the same goes for Wisconsin, which eliminated all shelter in place orders
(SEE: Wisconsin bars packed with patrons almost immediately after court strikes down stay-at-home order).]

Ohio coronavirus by county

Trump’s Economic War On China Blocks Vital Semiconductors Headed To China

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Office of Public Affairs
(202) 482-4883

The Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) today announced plans to protect U.S. national security by restricting Huawei’s ability to use U.S. technology and software to design and manufacture its semiconductors abroad. This announcement cuts off Huawei’s efforts to undermine U.S. export controls. BIS is amending its longstanding foreign-produced direct product rule and the Entity List to narrowly and strategically target Huawei’s acquisition of semiconductors that are the direct product of certain U.S. software and technology.

Since 2019 when BIS added Huawei Technologies and 114 of its overseas-related affiliates to the Entity List, companies wishing to export U.S. items were required to obtain a license.[1]  However, Huawei has continued to use U.S. software and technology to design semiconductors, undermining the national security and foreign policy purposes of the Entity List by commissioning their production in overseas foundries using U.S. equipment.

“Despite the Entity List actions the Department took last year, Huawei and its foreign affiliates have stepped-up efforts to undermine these national security-based restrictions through an indigenization effort.  However, that effort is still dependent on U.S. technologies,” said Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross.  “This is not how a responsible global corporate citizen behaves.  We must amend our rules exploited by Huawei and HiSilicon and prevent U.S. technologies from enabling malign activities contrary to U.S. national security and foreign policy interests.”

Specifically, this targeted rule change will make the following foreign-produced items subject to the Export Administration Regulations (EAR):

(i)        Items, such as semiconductor designs, when produced by Huawei and its affiliates on the Entity List (e.g., HiSilicon), that are the direct product of certain U.S. Commerce Control List (CCL) software and technology; and

(ii)       Items, such as chipsets, when produced from the design specifications of Huawei or an affiliate on the Entity List (e.g., HiSilicon), that are the direct product of certain CCL semiconductor manufacturing equipment located outside the United States.  Such foreign-produced items will only require a license when there is knowledge that they are destined for reexport, export from abroad, or transfer (in-country) to Huawei or any of its affiliates on the Entity List.

To prevent immediate adverse economic impacts on foreign foundries utilizing U.S. semiconductor manufacturing equipment that have initiated any production step for items based on Huawei design specifications as of May 15, 2020, such foreign-produced items are not subject to these new licensing requirements so long as they are reexported, exported from abroad, or transferred (in-country) by 120 days from the effective date.

Federal Register notice of the interim final rule is available here.

 


[1] In May 2019, BIS added Huawei Technologies Co., Ltd. (Huawei) and certain non-U.S. affiliates to the Entity List (with additional affiliates added in August 2019) on the basis of information that provided a reasonable basis to conclude that Huawei is engaged in activities that are contrary to U.S. national security or foreign policy interests.  This information included the activities alleged in the Department of Justice’s public Superseding Indictment of Huawei, including alleged violations of the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA), conspiracy to violate IEEPA by providing prohibited financial services to Iran, and obstruction of justice in connection with the investigation of those alleged violations of U.S. sanctions.

BUREAUS AND OFFICES

Our Great Depression

In our focus upon fighting the pandemic, or in those people whose preferred fight is to fight against the pandemic fight, we all lose sight of the greater crisis, the intentional crashing of the US and world economies.  In the rush to address the viral emergency, the choice was made, in nearly every country in the world, to force the people into lock-down, regardless of the impact upon the economy.  The unprecedented decision to force millions of gainfully employed individuals out of their jobs, for the sake of protecting the elderly and the weak, was a desperate and unwise calculated risk, which has initiated ripples or waves of economic destruction that are growing in intensity, increasing the economic destruction exponentially, as the colliding waves and ripples collide and set-off new ripples.

Today’s economic collapse is often compared to the “Great Depression” of the 1930s…but what does that mean, really?

One little-known fact about the Gr. D. is that it physically begin until about one year after the stock market crash of 1929, when bankruptcies and foreclosures got rolling.  Our journey in “Our Great Depression” more or less began “overnight”.  Our stock market began to react the coronavirus crisis, as shortages and runs on products began to show up on Fox and CNN,causing panic among the sheeple, allowing the media covid PSYOP to escalate.  As shock buying started to make its own ripples on the US stock market, Russia and Saudi Arabia launched their gas war against each other, destroying the US fracking oil industry and torpedoing the bankers, investors and the US economy, in general.

The fracking oil speculators were the final straw on capitalism’s hump-back, historically risky and running on pure speculation, without consideration for the environmental consequences, investors poured billions into fracking, allowing the wildcatters to successfully harvest enough recovered oil and gas to make the US a world leading petroleum producer once again, until the crash.

“Fracking”, originally known as “slant-drilling” (the underhanded method used in Kuwait by Dick Cheney’s Halliburton, to siphon-off Iraqi oil, thus causing the Gulf War–SEE: How the USA created the Gulf crisis), 

Trump bet everything on expanded fracking, intending to dominate the world oil markets, eventually.  His economic “recovery” was built around the gamble, leaving us vulnerable to moves by both our friends and our enemies, creating a reason and the opportunity to undercut the American economy.   When the Russian/Saudi attack on shale took place Trump lost his bet, leaving us with a shattered economy, as a consequence.

As the oil industry dies, so dies our economy, especially the magnificent mass-distribution system that has been built-up over hundreds of years.  The economy is dying-off incrementally, or in spurts, hitting each sector in turn.

None of us are ready for what is to come.  When survival becomes a real issue, we will all forget about the wild conspiracy theories which now divide us.  After the bonus checks stop flowing, everything will go down (except for violence), jobs, money, food, medical care, rent will disappear simultaneously.  This should be our greatest worry right now, NOT whether the government is killing the elderly with 5G waves, or marking us with microchips.  

For a taste of what is to come, I bring you the following re-run from the great Len Hart, The GOP: Architects of Another ‘Great Depression’

 

[A poignant movie by Frank Thomas inspired by “Pennyland” a song written by his brother, Eddie Thomas featuring Depression Era photographs from the Library of Congress and audio excerpts from Franklin D. Roosevelt’s 1933 inaugural address.]

Why There is a Recession/Depression During Every GOP Regime–October 25, 2013

Why GOP Regimes Create Recessions/Depression–September 08, 2013

The GOP: Architects of Another ‘Great Depression’

November 16th, 2008

Len Hart

The GOP has dominated American economic policy since 1980 and with the exception of a brief period in Clinton’s second term, the rich have gotten exceedingly richer and the poor, much, much poorer.

This gaping, growing inequality married to Bush’s ‘bailout’, a failed example of corporate welfare and outright theft, has proven Karl Marx to have been absolutely correct. The nation now faces another Great Depression because it had not learned the lessons of Coolidge, Hoover, Reagan and Bush.

Any US history of events leading up to the stock market crash of 1929 and the ‘great depression’ following reads like a modern US history from 1980. The causes of the ‘Great Depression’ include a vastly unequal distribution of wealth and, of course, the stock market crash and financial panic of 1929.

This speculation and the resulting stock market crashes acted as a trigger to the already unstable US economy. Due to the maldistribution of wealth, the economy of the 1920’s was one very much dependent upon confidence. The market crashes undermined this confidence.

The rich stopped spending on luxury items, and slowed investments. The middle-class and poor stopped buying things with installment credit for fear of loosing their jobs, and not being able to pay the interest. As a result industrial production fell by more than 9% between the market crashes in October and December 192948. As a result jobs were lost, and soon people starting defaulting on their interest payment.

Radios and cars bought with installment credit had to be returned. All of the sudden warehouses were piling up with inventory. The thriving industries that had been connected with the automobile and radio industries started falling apart. Without a car people did not need fuel or tires; without a radio people had less need for electricity.

On the international scene, the rich had practically stopped lending money to foreign countries. With such tremendous profits to be made in the stock market nobody wanted to make low interest loans. To protect the nation’s businesses the US imposed higher trade barriers (Hawley-Smoot Tariff of 1930). Foreigners stopped buying American products. More jobs were lost, more stores were closed, more banks went under, and more factories closed. Unemployment grew to five million in 1930, and up to thirteen million in 193249. The country spiraled quickly into catastrophe. The Great Depression had begun.

Main Causes of the Great Depression, Main Causes of the Great Depression

The era leading up to the crash is remembered for the celebration and practice of unbridled ‘laissez faire’ or worse –what is now called ‘supply side economics’. Laissez-faire is simplistically defined as ‘economic freedom’ but in practice it amounts to freedom for the upper classes alone. Supply-side economics is not a ‘hands off’ policy at all. It is, in fact, an active, deliberate distribution of wealth upward to an increasingly tiny elite. It is a pseudo-economics touted to justify big tax breaks for the upper ten percent of the nation’s income recipients and wealth-holders. It is claimed that the wealth will ‘trickle down’ by stimulating investment. It never has and never will.

  • Among the causes of the great depression, the great ‘Stock Market Crash of 1929’ tops the list. Many believe erroneously that the stock market crash that occurred on Black Tuesday, October 29, 1929 is one and the same with the Great Depression. In fact, it was one of the major causes that led to the Great Depression. Two months after the original crash in October, stockholders had lost more than $40 billion dollars. Even though the stock market began to regain some of its losses, by the end of 1930, it just was not enough and America truly entered what is called the Great Depression.
  • Bank FailuresThroughout the 1930s over 9,000 banks failed. Bank deposits were uninsured and thus as banks failed people simply lost their savings. Surviving banks, unsure of the economic situation and concerned for their own survival, stopped being as willing to create new loans. This exacerbated the situation leading to less and less expenditures.
  • Reduction in Purchasing Across the BoardWith the stock market crash and the fears of further economic woes, individuals from all classes stopped purchasing items. This then led to a reduction in the number of items produced and thus a reduction in the workforce. As people lost their jobs, they were unable to keep up with paying for items they had bought through installment plans and their items were repossessed. More and more inventory began to accumulate. The unemployment rate rose above 25% which meant, of course, even less spending to help alleviate the economic situation.
  • American Economic Policy with EuropeAs businesses began failing, the government created the Hawley-Smoot Tariff in 1930 to help protect American companies. This charged a high tax for imports thereby leading to less trade between America and foreign countries along with some economic retaliation.
  • Drought Conditions.While not a direct cause of the Great Depression, the drought that occurred in the Mississippi Valley in 1930 was of such proportions that many could not even pay their taxes or other debts and had to sell their farms for no profit to themselves. This was the topic of John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath

Top Five Causes of the Great Depression

The US experienced an overproduction in industry and agriculture just prior to the crash of 1929. Today, American production is ‘out-sourced’ to other nations and Americans are left with lower paying jobs or no jobs at all. I will not be surprised if the crash of ’29 pales when compared to the impending crash for that very reason. Outsourcing, most which may be traced to deals struck by Bush Sr and Richard Nixon with what was then called ‘communist’ China will certainly leave the US reduced to third world status at the end of another ‘great depression’.

The Great Depression is remembered for widespread hunger, poverty, and unemployment, the tragic result of agricultural overproduction and the inevitable decline in prices. We have seen these trends sporadically since 1980 though often papered over and ignored as an increasingly tiny elite continued to benefit from GOP ‘supply side’ tax cuts.

To the sorrow of small farmers, the Great Depression witnessed a drastic decline in prices for agricultural products. Between 1925 to 1928 there were good harvests all over the world but it didn’t seem to matter. Millions were hungry and the food lines were long –starvation amid plenty. Amid this plenty, farmers refused to harvest. But few could blame them. They could not have earned enough to have justified the expenditure to harvest. Indeed, many farmers were foreclosed upon. Others, starving from lack of work, were reduced to soup lines and emergency ‘kitchens’. It could not have come at a worse time for small farmers who had assumed great debts in order to expand production.

By 1933, unemployment had reached 26.6%. As jobs declined, workers were either fired, laid off, or forced to work for declining wages. The effects were not confined to unskilled workers who had no properties. Landowners and farmers could not earn enough to keep up payments. Foreclosures rose exponentially. A form of economic slavery ensued. Workers had no choice but to work much longer hours for much, much less. Today –their jobs are exported to China.

As the US faces the consequences of yet another right wing experiment gone horribly wrong, certain facts must not be lost amid the din. The factors that have made the US extremely vulnerable to another ‘Great Depression’, the symptoms were created by the policies of three men: Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, and George W. Bush. It was Ronald Reagan who inherited from Jimmy Carter a healthy economy and wrecked it. Though he is unfairly reviled and lied about, Jimmy Carter is number two among post World War II presidents in ‘job creation’. perhaps the single most important economic index. He also beats out every other GOP president in every other category including GDP. In summary, every Democratic president has beat every GOP president in every economic category since World War II. Ronald Reagan must be singled out. It was his tax cut of 1982 which benefited only the upper quintile, the very, very wealthy, which triggered the long, slow decline that has taken this nation to the brink of yet another Great Depression.

The ‘L-curve’ helps one imagine the degree to which wealth in the United States is inequitably distributed by policy and by design. The US population is represented ‘stretched across a football field in order of income, from poorest, on the left, to richest. Imagine a stack of $100 bills ‘representing each person’s income.’ For example: a stack one inch high represents a stack of one hundred dollars bills, i.e, $25,000. The red line on the graph represents the height of that stack compared to an American football field.

“The red line in the first picture is the beginning of the US income distribution. On the scale of the football field the line slopes gradually from zero on the left to less than 2-inches high at the 50-yard line ($39,000), to about 4-inches high at the 95-yard line ($132,000). On this scale the entire graph is less than one pixel high, up to this point. It is not until you are well past the 99-yard line that you hit the $1 million mark: a stack of $100 bills 40-inches high. There were over 144,000 people who turned in IRS returns in 1997 with adjusted gross incomes of $1 million or more.” [See: Houston Independent Media Center, Wealth Distribution in the US http://houston.indymedia.org/news/2003/07/14100.php ]

One is tempted to posit a general rule: periods of wide and increasing income and wealth inequalities always precede long and deep recessions/depressions. The other rule is that GOP tax cuts have always preceded periods of sustained and increasing transfers of wealth to the upper classes.

In America, the theft has been overt. Bush called his beneficiaries his ‘base’. Indeed, they were his sponsors.

Reagan’s tax cut of 1980 benefited only the upper quintile. When all the data is in, Bush’s tax cuts will prove to have benefited only about one percent of the nation, a fraction of those who benefited from Reagan. In both cases, only those who were already very, very, very wealthy benefited. Everyone else got poorer both in real terms and comparatively.

The effect of this on the economy is not only that wealthy will get to live in better houses, get adequate health care, ‘better neighborhoods’, better educations, or drive more reliable cars. It means that many amenities that you might have previously enjoyed on your present income will become off limits to you even if you retain your job and your current income. That’s because the very, very wealthy will have ‘bid up’ the prices on homes, educations, health care, cars, and other items.

The GOP has supported and effected outright transfers of wealth from all Americans to an increasingly tiny percentage of the US population. There is but one word for this: THEFT! [See: ‘Greed is Good’: The Death of an Economic Religion]

Although the US economy produces tremendous wealth, it is always accompanied in GOP regimes by tremendous poverty. The US, for example, was most egalitarian in the years immediately following WI. During GOP regimes, income inequality increased and is, in fact, measured with the GINI index. Higher Ginis indicate greater levels of income inequality. These indices have been significantly greater in every GOP regime since World War II.

Certainly –there is enough wealth to go around. Instead, wealth flows upward —not down, as the propagandists of ‘supply side’ i.e. ‘trickle down theory’ would have you believe. The problem is systemic –the result of identifiable, right wing policies.

The primary culprits are GOP tax cuts by Mssrs Ronald Reagan and Bush; the effect of those cuts have been the deliberate transfer of wealth first to the upper quintile and, most recently, to an increasingly tiny elite of about one percent of the total population [See: Dr. Daniel Weinberger, US Census Bureau Briefings; Also see: The Quarterly Journal of Economics: Income Inequality in the United States at the following. It’s a PDF and cites academic and official, original sources of data.

The financial collapse of the US is tragic enough but complicated by the fact that Bush stole your money in order to commit capital crimes –crimes for which he could be executed when found guilty as charged. There is a place in the dock for Bush.

The GOP hopes to deflect attention from its traditional marching orders. The GOP raison d’etre is simply this: pass tax cuts and other measures that enrich only the ruling elites far beyond what they might have achieved solely on merit. IF you are NOT among the top one percent of the nation, the GOP has ROBBED you under the rubric of “cutting taxes”.

Thanks to GOP policies which, in fact, concentrate wealth at the top, there are increasingly FEWER ‘small business’ people because small business can no longer compete with HUGE corporations favored by the GOP. The GOP has a vested interest in keeping the truth form the American people. The truth is: wealth does not originate with rich people. Every economist –even right wing economists like Milton Friedman –subscribe to an established principle –the labor theory of value. The labor theory of value has been the basis for almost every major economic theory since Aristotle.

The GOP believes the opposite. The GOP would have you believe that capital creates wealth. Think about it –if wealth had been created by the rich and, indeed, trickled down, the GOP would never feel ‘compelled’ to pursue its unfair tax policies which have, in fact, been the source of their wealth. If what the GOP tells you is true, the wealth would have already been wealthy. The official statistics prove beyond any reasonable doubt that GOP tax policies have enriched an increasingly small percentage of the total US population. It only makes sense to support ‘trickle down’ economics if, in fact, wealth does not trickle down. It pursues unfair tax policies because wealth does not and has never ‘trickled down’. Wealth trickles up and the government always taxes it at its source, its creation! And its ‘creation’ is the act of labor itself. Government has put an unfair ‘tax’ upon this ‘labor’ and has given that money to an elite who did nothing to create it and do no, in fact deserve it.

That’s why the lower and working classes pay more than their fair share of taxes. The government taxes labor and gives capital a free ride. This is a recipe for the impending economic collapse, a collapse that appears to be well underway and beyond anyone’s power or ability to stop. But that has not stopped the government from playing it’s well-rehearsed role as the shakedown arm of the nation’s tiny and shrinking elite.

If because of GOP transfers of unearned wealth to the increasingly tiny elite of about one percent of the population, labor is unproductive or impoverished the productivity of the nation will decline and ultimately collapse. That is, in fact, what we see happening as I write this. If the poor can no longer afford decent housing or food because elites have bid up prices on commodities. If you can no longer afford decent housing, health care or food, you have then, perhaps recently under Bush, fallen off the ladder. It’s the GOP way.

Bush’s bailout proves Marx correct but, like everything else the GOP tries, they’ve mucked it up. It’s not even ‘good’ Marxism. Not surprisingly, it benefits only the GOP base of elites and, because of that fact, it will have absolutely no effect whatsoever except that of hastening the impending collapse. Marx said that Capitalism would collapse of its own inconsistencies, ‘internal tensions which will lead to its destruction.’ The GOP has hastened that result.

Some history may illustrate the point: the Wall Street crash of 1929 was followed by a severe world wide depression acutely felt in the US, Germany, France, and to a lesser degree –Great Britain and Sweden. Nevertheless, unemployment was high in Sweden when that nation returned a Labor government committed to a program of public investment to address the high unemployment problem. It worked. By 1935 real output in Sweden was 7 percent above its 1929 level. Unemployment was reduced and the finance minister was said to have been happy to suffer another budget deficit to stimulate the economy.

Ronald Reagan’s budget deficit did not have a happy result. His tax cut of 1982 was quickly followed by the nation’s worst recession since the Great Depression, a recession of some 18 months characterized by record levels of unemployment, home losses, the newly poor sleeping under bridges and overpasses.

Reagan’s best critics were found in his regime. Primarily, budget director David Stockman who blamed a “noisy faction of Republicans” for Reagan’s infamous tax cut. Reagan might have achieved the prosperity that Keynes had predicted had his policies not been designed to reward only the filthy rich, i.e. his base and, later, that of Bush.

One wonders why Reagan didn’t just cut out the middle man. A more equitable tax might have put more spendable income directly into the hands of consumers. Spent money circulates and drives an economy. That consumers spend money seems to be a fact lost on the likes of Reagan, Bush, and the nation’s rich and callous elites.

Surely, there were knowledgeable advisers in Reagan’s regime who knew better. The tax cut, therefore, was entirely political, a pay off to the rich for their support. Nothing has changed in the GOP. The Bush administration has made several such “payoffs” during his catastrophic and criminal regime.

When the dollar collapses, you must know that its origins are found in the Nixon and Bush trips to China and Reagan’s give away to his elite and greedy base. The policies have eaten away at our economic health like wood worms.

The “L-Curve”

——

Published Articles

• Bush’s Conspiracy to Create an American Police State: Part I, Police States Begin With False Flag Attacks
• Bush’s Conspiracy to Create an American Police State: Part II, A Climate of Fear is Maintained
• Bush’s Conspiracy to Create an American Police State: Part III, In Fascist Dictatorships Telling the truth becomes a crime
• Bush’s Conspiracy to Create an American Police State: Part IV, the state forces an ‘existential’ choice
• Bush’s Conspiracy to Create an American Police State: Part V, Public Opinion Becomes Irrelevant
• Bush’s Conspiracy to Create an American Police State: Part VI, The government places itself above the law
• Bush’s Conspiracy to Create an American Police State: Part VII, The Government Denies ‘Due Process of Law’
• Bush’s Conspiracy to Create an American Police State Part VIII: Atrocities are justified with lies, myths or propaganda

-###-

By: Len Hart The GOP: Architects of Another ‘Great Depression’, via The Existentialist Cowboy

Conspiracy theorists claim that 5G increases vulnerability to COVID-19 with baseless theory that it affects hemoglobin

Conspiracy theorists claim that 5G increases vulnerability to COVID-19 with baseless theory that it affects hemoglobin

CLAIM
“Coronavirus pandemic would likely not be nearly as bad if 5G exposure/radiation pollution wasn’t already compromising the structure and function of hemoglobin cells.”
SOURCE: , 6 Apr. 2020 
 
VERDICT DETAILS:
Flawed reasoning: The argument that 5G increases vulnerability to COVID-19 is inconsistent with the fact that 5G coverage is geographically quite limited and many of the hardest-hit regions do not have 5G.
Inadequate support: No scientific studies support the claim that non-ionizing radiation alters the structure of hemoglobin.
KEY TAKE AWAY
Wireless communications use electromagnetic waves to transfer data. Electromagnetic waves carry energy that is proportional to their frequency and can interact with biological tissues. However, the energy level and the penetration depth of the type of waves used for 5G do not allow them to alter the structure and function of important biological macromolecules such as hemoglobin. In addition, there is no correlation between the very limited 5G coverage in the world and the progression of the COVID-19 pandemic.

FULL CLAIM: “We are dealing with a phenomenon where 5G radiation exposures … occupies the hemoglobin molecule with other elements that alter its structure and therefore its function, inhibiting its ability to bind with oxygen. This is very likely happening all across the world wherever 5G is currently functioning, it’s just that the coronavirus is now exacerbating the symptoms and conditions to the point where mass death is occurring.”

The claim that 5G technology makes us more vulnerable to COVID-19 appeared in several media outlets, including Natural News on 6 April 2020. The purported reason would be that electromagnetic fields (EMF) from 5G devices decrease the ability of hemoglobin molecules in our red blood cells to bind oxygen and carry it to our organs. This claim is unsupported by current scientific data. In fact, Mats-Olof Mattson, professor of cell biology at Strömstad Academy in Sweden, told Health Feedback that he found it unrealistic, firstly because non-ionizing EMF used in 5G does not carry sufficient energy to alter the structure of biomolecules, and secondly because 5G rollout is very limited and is absent from many regions heavily impacted by COVID-19.

The capacity of the hemoglobin protein to bind and release oxygen is tightly associated with its structure and to the conformational changes it undergoes when bound. According to Mike Adams, the author of the Natural News article, 5G radiation exposure “occupies the hemoglobin molecule with other elements that alter its structure and therefore its function, inhibiting its ability to bind with oxygen.” The author further states that this binding deficiency is what makes people vulnerable to COVID-19: “This is very likely happening all across the world wherever 5G is currently functioning, it’s just that the coronavirus is now exacerbating the symptoms and conditions to the point where mass death is occurring.”

However, the author does not provide any research or scientific data to support his claim@. Mattson says that “There is not a single experimental study that has investigated if the radio waves relevant for wireless communication change hemoglobin’s O2 affinity.” More research is needed on the effects of non-ionizing EMF on biological systems, especially on the types of EMF specific to 5G, for which very few studies have been published[1,2]. However, the overall consensus from health agencies such as the World Health Organization (WHO) or Public Health England is that the non-ionizing EMF used for telecommunications are safe. The independent International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP), published updated safety guidelines in 2020 to ensure the protection of the public.

Aside from the question of the overall health impacts of EMF, the idea that such non-ionizing radiation would alter the structure of macromolecules is unrealistic. The EMF would have to be produced “at energy levels (power density, W/m2) that are many orders of magnitude higher than those used for communication purposes”, Mattsson says. In addition, the penetration depth of electromagnetic waves diminishes in proportion to their frequencies[3]. At the frequencies used by the millimetric waves that will be part of 5G (dozens of GHz), this “depth is less than 1 mm, and thus practically do not even go beyond the epidermis of the skin. The penetration to blood, and thus a direct interaction with hemoglobin within the red blood cells, is unrealistic.”

Finally, the claim that a 5G-driven effect is causing the high death toll from the COVID-19 pandemic is illogical. If it were true, one would expect to see higher rates of death in regions that have 5G. However, a comparison of 5G availability and COVID-19 cases shows no correlation. For example, Italy has 5G in only a few cities, including Bologna, Milan, and Rome, yet the cities that have been hardest-hit by COVID-19 are Bergamo and Brescia, where there is no 5G coverage. In Spain, the hardest-hit Castilla-La Mancha region also has no 5G. The same goes for France where 5G is available in major cities such as Paris, Lyon, Nantes, Montpellier, Marseille, and Lille, but the region with the most COVID-19 cases and deaths is the north-east region of Alsace. The number of new cases in Brazil is currently accelerating even though 5G is not available anywhere in the country.

In summary, the article does not provide adequate scientific evidence to support its claim that 5G increases vulnerability to COVID-19. In addition, no scientific studies have established an impact of 5G electromagnetic radiation on hemoglobin structure. Although research on the potential health impacts of EMF remains relevant, the characteristics of the EMF used in 5G suggest that it is unlikely it would cross the thickness of the skin and reach the blood, nor that it could alter the structure of biomolecules in vivo. The strength of radiation required to alter the structure of biological macromolecules is far higher than that used in telecommunications. Finally, 5G is not available in most parts of the world and the regions that do have it are not hotspots for COVID-19.

SCIENTISTS’ FEEDBACK

Mats-Olof Mattsson, Professor, Strömstad Academy:

  • There is not a single experimental study that has investigated if radio waves relevant for wireless communication change hemoglobin’s O2 affinity.
  • Any effect of the relevant radio waves on biomolecule functions occur at energy levels (power density, W/m2) that are many orders of magnitude higher than those used for communication purposes.
  • Specifically regarding the frequencies that are or will be used for 5G, presently those frequencies are identical to or similar to the ones used for the earlier generations (2-4G) of mobile communication. Later on, there may be a need for higher frequencies, which are somewhat different in different countries. Such higher frequencies, e.g. 24-28 GHz, are not needed at the moment, and when they are introduced, their use will be for small cells that emit very low power.
  • Skin penetration depth of a radio wave is inversely proportional to its frequency; thus higher frequencies penetrate more shallowly. For so-called millimeter waves, 30 GHz and higher, this depth is less than 1 mm, and thus practically do not even go beyond the epidermis of the skin. The penetration to blood and thus a direct interaction with hemoglobin within the red blood cells is unrealistic.
  • The article in Environmental Research that is referred to is a review paper@ (not an experimental study) by a former biochemistry professor, Martin Pall[4]. The article itself is extremely biased and partisan, and notably, Pall has never done any research in the area of biological or health-related effects of non-ionizing radiation. His “ideas” are not considered serious by the relevant scientific community.
  • Statements regarding clinical symptoms attributable to 5G (which is difficult to claim in the first place since 5G in reality is not available for more than a very small fraction of wireless communication users) and the coronavirus infection are inaccurate, and thus misleading.

In short, there is no evidence available that radio waves used for wireless communication, and at such relevant energy levels, have any effects on biomolecule structures in vitro. That such an effect would occur in vivo under such conditions is extremely unlikely. Furthermore, and specifically regarding 5G, any claim that this protocol would have any health impact on COVID-19 patients at present is unrealistic, since the general roll-out of 5G is very modest and actually absent in most countries.

NOTES

@: The article only mentions one review article in the journal Environmental Research[4], which scientists studying the biological effects of electromagnetic radiation have identified as extremely biased. This article does not mention non-ionizing EMF-related effects on hemoglobin structure or function. In his comments on the articleAlberto Najera, a professor at the University of Castilla-La Mancha who studies the possible health effects of radiofrequency electromagnetic fields, said that: “The author of this work provides a series of evidences to demonstrate the threat that Wi-Fi networks pose to human health. For this purpose, it carries out a review of articles without a detailed methodology, inclusion or exclusion criteria, neither temporary, search keywords, etc., which results in the inclusion of a biased and interested series of inadequate articles to prove his thesis.”

In addition, Kenneth Foster, professor of bioengineering at the University of Pennsylvania, and John Moulder, professor emeritus of radiation oncology at the Medical College of Wisconsin, wrote that the author “appears to accept experimental findings without critical review for statistical and methodological quality.”

READ MORE

Health Feedback covered a similar viral claim that falsely asserts that COVID-19 is due to 5G technology rollout, not a virus.

Health Feedback is working with the CoronaVirusFacts Alliance, a coalition of more than 100 fact-checkers who are fighting misinformation related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Learn more about the alliance here.

REFERENCES

       

Published on: 11 Apr 2020 | Editor: 

Health Feedback is a non-partisan, non-profit organization dedicated to science education. Our reviews are crowdsourced directly from a community of scientists with relevant expertise. We strive to explain whether and why information is or is not consistent with the science and to help readers know which news to trust.
Please get in touch if you have any comment or think there is an important claim or article that would need to be reviewed.

Bill Gates and His Historical Support of Eugenics and Population Reduction Before Anyone Heard of 5G

Hitler Is Smiling–The Profitable Secret Sterilization of the Third World

“We have a hothouse filled with corn plants that make anti-sperm antibodies.”

[SEE: Indian Democracy and the Fight Against Insecticide In Food]

Bill Gates talks about `vaccines to reduce population`

Posted: 2010/03/11
From: Source

Microsoft founder and one of the world`s wealthiest men, Bill Gates, projects an image of a benign philanthropist using his billions via his (tax exempt) Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, to tackle diseases, solve food shortages in Africa and alleviate poverty.

By F. William Engdahl, Mar 6, (informationliberation) —

In a recent conference in California, Gates reveals a less public agenda of his philanthropy–population reduction, otherwise known as eugenics.

Gates made his remarks to the invitation-only Long Beach, California TED2010 Conference, in a speech titled, “Innovating to Zero!.” Along with the scientifically absurd proposition of reducing manmade CO2 emissions worldwide to zero by 2050, approximately four and a half minutes into the talk, Gates declares, “First we got population. The world today has 6.8 billion people. That’s headed up to about 9 billion. Now if we do a really great job on new vaccines, health care, reproductive health services, we lower that by perhaps 10 or 15 percent.”(author’s emphasis).

In plain English, one of the most powerful men in the world states clearly that he expects vaccines to be used to reduce population growth. When Bill Gates speaks about vaccines, he speaks with authority.

In January 2010 at the elite Davos World Economic Forum, Gates announced his foundation would give $10 billion (circa €7.5 billion) over the next decade to develop and deliver new vaccines to children in the developing world. 2

The primary focus of his multi-billion dollar Gates Foundation is vaccinations, especially in Africa and other underdeveloped countries.

Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is a founding member of the GAVI Alliance (Global Alliance for Vaccinations and Immunization) in partnership with the World Bank, WHO and the vaccine industry.

The goal of GAVI is to vaccinate every newborn child in the developing world.

Now that sounds like noble philanthropic work.

The problem is that the vaccine industry has been repeatedly caught dumping dangerous—meaning unsafe because untested or proven harmful—vaccines onto unwitting Third World populations when they cannot get rid of the vaccines in the West.3

Some organizations have suggested that the true aim of the vaccinations is to make people sicker and even more susceptible to disease and premature death.4

Dumping toxins on the Third World

In the aftermath of the most recent unnecessary Pandemic declaration of a global H1N1 swine flu emergency, industrial countries were left sitting on hundreds of millions of doses of untested vaccines.

They decided to get rid of the embarrassing leftover drugs by handing them over to the WHO which in turn plans to dump them for free on select poor countries.

France has given 91 million of the 94 million doses the Sarkozy government bought from the pharma giants; Britain gave 55 million of its 60 million doses. The story for Germany and Norway is similar.5

As Dr. Thomas Jefferson, an epidemiologist with the Cochrane Research Center in Rome noted, “Why do they give the vaccines to the developing countries at all? The pandemic has been called off in most parts of the world. The greatest threat in poor countries right now is heart and circulatory diseases while the virus figures at the bottom of the list. What is the medical reason for donating 180 million doses?” As well, flu is a minor problem in countries with abundant sunshine, and it turned out that the feared H1N1 Pandemic “new great plague” was the mildest flu on record.

The pharmaceutical vaccine makers do not speak about the enormous health damage from infant vaccination including autism and numerous neuro-muscular deformities that have been traced back to the toxic adjuvants and preservatives used in most vaccines.

Many vaccines, especially multi-dose vaccines that are made more cheaply for sale to the Third World, contain something called Thimerosal (Thiomersol in the EU), a compound (sodium ethylmercurithiosalicylate), containing some 50% mercury, used as a preservative.

In July 1999 the US’ National Vaccine Information Center declared in a press release that, “The cumulative effects of ingesting mercury can cause brain damage.” The same month, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) alerted the public about the possible health effects associated with thimerosal-containing vaccines.

They strongly recommended that thimerosal be removed from vaccines as soon as possible. Under the directive of the FDA Modernization Act of 1997, the Food and Drug Administration also determined that infants who received several thimerosal-containing vaccines may be receiving mercury exposure over and above the recommended federal guidelines.7

A new form of eugenics?

Gates’ interest in inducing population reduction among black and other minority populations is not new unfortunately. As I document in my book, Seeds of Destruction,8since the 1920’s the Rockefeller Foundation had funded the eugenics research in Germany through the Kaiser-Wilhelm Institutes in Berlin and Munich, including well into the Third Reich.

They praised the forced sterilization of people by Hirtler Germany, and the Nazi ideas on race “purity.” It was John D. Rockefeller III, a life-long advocate of eugenics, who used his “tax free” foundation money to initiate the population reduction neo-Malthusian movement through his private Population Council in New York beginning in the 1950’s.

The idea of using vaccines to covertly reduce births in the Third World is also not new. Bill Gates’ good friend, David Rockefeller and his Rockefeller Foundation were involved as early as 1972 in a major project together with WHO and others to perfect another “new vaccine.”

The results of the WHO-Rockefeller project were put into mass application on human guinea pigs in the early 1990’s. The WHO oversaw massive vaccination campaigns against tetanus in Nicaragua, Mexico and the Philippines.

Comite Pro Vida de Mexico, a Roman Catholic lay organization, became suspicious of the motives behind the WHO program and decided to test numerous vials of the vaccine and found them to contain human Chorionic Gonadotrophin, or hCG.

That was a curious component for a vaccine designed to protect people against lock-jaw arising from infection with rusty nail wounds or other contact with certain bacteria found in soil.

The tetanus disease was indeed, also rather rare. It was also curious because hCG was a natural hormone needed to maintain a pregnancy.

However, when combined with a tetanus toxoid carrier, it stimulated formation of antibodies against hCG, rendering a woman incapable of maintaining a pregnancy, a form of concealed abortion. Similar reports of vaccines laced with hCG hormones came from the Philippines and Nicaragua.9

Gates’ ‘Gene Revolution in Africa’

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, along with David Rockefeller’s Rockefeller Foundation, the creators of the GMO biotechnology, are also financing a project called The Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) headed by former UN chief, Kofi Annan.

Accepting the role as AGRA head in June 2007 Annan expressed his “gratitude to the Rockefeller Foundation, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and all others who support our African campaign.” The AGRA board is dominated by people from both the Gates’ and Rockefeller foundations. 10

Monsanto, DuPont, Dow, Syngenta and other major GMO agribusiness giants are reported at the heart of AGRA, using it as a back-door to spread their patented GMO seeds across Africa under the deceptive label, ‘bio-technology,’ a euphemism for genetically engineered patented seeds.

The person from the Gates Foundation responsible for its work with AGRA is Dr. Robert Horsch, a 25-year Monsanto GMO veteran who was on the team that developed Monsanto’s RoundUp Ready GMO technologies.

His job is reportedly to use Gates’ money to introduce GMO into Africa.11

To date South Africa is the only African country permitting legal planting of GMO crops. In 2003 Burkina Faso authorized GMO trials.

In 2005 Kofi Annan’s Ghana drafted bio-safety legislation and key officials expressed their intentions to pursue research into GMO crops. AGRA is being used to create networks of “agro-dealers” across Africa, at first with no mention of GMO seeds or herbicides, in order to have the infrastructure in place to massively introduce GMO.12

GMO, glyphosate and population reduction

GMO crops have never been proven safe for human or animal consumption.

Moreover, they are inherently genetically ‘unstable’ as they are an unnatural product of introducing a foreign bacteria such as Bacillus Thuringiensis (Bt) or other material into the DNA of a given seed to change its traits.

Perhaps equally dangerous are the ‘paired’ chemical herbicides sold as a mandatory part of a GMO contract, such as Monsanto’s Roundup, the most widely used such herbicide in the world.

It contains highly toxic glyphosate compounds that have been independently tested and proven to exist in toxic concentrations in GMO applications far above that safe for humans or animals.

Tests show that tiny amounts of glyphosate compounds would do damage to a human umbilical, embryonic and placental cells in a pregnant woman drinking the ground water near a GMO field.13

One long-standing project of the US Government has been to perfect a genetically-modified variety of corn, the diet staple in Mexico and many other Latin American countries.

The corn has been field tested in tests financed by the US Department of Agriculture along with a small California bio-tech company named Epicyte.

Announcing his success at a 2001 press conference, the president of Epicyte, Mitch Hein, pointing to his GMO corn plants, announced, “We have a hothouse filled with corn plants that make anti-sperm antibodies.” 14

Hein explained that they had taken antibodies from women with a rare condition known as immune infertility, isolated the genes that regulated the manufacture of those infertility antibodies, and, using genetic engineering techniques, had inserted the genes into ordinary corn seeds used to produce corn plants.

In this manner, in reality they produced a concealed contraceptive embedded in corn meant for human consumption.

“Essentially, the antibodies are attracted to surface receptors on the sperm,” said Hein. “They latch on and make each sperm so heavy it cannot move forward. It just shakes about as if it was doing the lambada.” 15 Hein claimed it was a possible solution to world “over-population.” The moral and ethical issues of feeding it to humans in Third World poor countries without their knowing it countries he left out of his remarks.

Spermicides hidden in GMO corn provided to starving Third World populations through the generosity of the Gates’ foundation, Rockefeller Foundation and Kofi Annan’s AGRA or vaccines that contain undisclosed sterilization agents are just two documented cases of using vaccines or GMO seeds to “reduce population.”

And the ‘Good Club’

Gates’ TED2010 speech on zero emissions and population reduction is consistent with a report that appeared in New York City’s ethnic media, Irish.Central.com in May 2009.

According to the report, a secret meeting took place on May 5, 2009 at the home of Sir Paul Nurse, President of Rockefeller University, among some of the wealthiest people in America.

Investment guru Warren Buffett who in 2006 decided to pool his $30 billion Buffett Foundation into the Gates foundation to create the world’s largest private foundation with some $60 billions of tax-free dollars was present. Banker David Rockefeller was the host.

The exclusive letter of invitation was signed by Gates, Rockefeller and Buffett.

They decided to call themselves the “Good Club.” Also present was media czar Ted Turner, billionaire founder of CNN who stated in a 1996 interview for the Audubon nature magazine, where he said that a 95% reduction of world population to between 225-300 million would be “ideal.”

In a 2008 interview at Philadelphia’s Temple University, Turner fine-tuned the number to 2 billion, a cut of more than 70% from today’s population.

Even less elegantly than Gates, Turner stated, “we have too many people. That’s why we have global warming. We need less people using less stuff (sic).”16

Others attending this first meeting of the Good Club reportedly were: Eli Broad real estate billionaire, New York’s billionaire Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Wall Street billionaire and Council on Foreign Relations former head, Peter G. Peterson.

In addition, Julian H. Robertson, Jr., hedge-fund billionaire who worked with Soros attacking the currencies of Thailand, Indonesia, South Korea and the Asian Tigen economies, precipitating the 1997-98 Asia Crisis.

Also present at the first session of the Good Club was Patty Stonesifer, former chief executive of the Gates foundation, and John Morgridge of Cisco Systems. The group represented a combined fortune of more than $125 billion. 17

According to reports apparently leaked by one of the attendees, the meeting was held in response to the global economic downturn and the numerous health and environmental crises that are plaguing the globe.

But the central theme and purpose of the secret Good Club meeting of the plutocrats was the priority concern posed by Bill Gates, namely, how to advance more effectively their agenda of birth control and global population reduction.

In the talks a consensus reportedly emerged that they would “back a strategy in which population growth would be tackled as a potentially disastrous environmental, social and industrial threat.” 18

Global Eugenics agenda

Gates and Buffett are major funders of global population reduction programs, as is Turner, whose UN Foundation was created to funnel $1 billion of his tax-free stock option earnings in AOL-Time-Warner into various birth reduction programs in the developing world.19

The programs in Africa and elsewhere are masked as philanthropy and providing health services for poor Africans. In reality they involve involuntary population sterilization via vaccination and other medicines that make women of child-bearing age infertile.

The Gates Foundation, where Buffett deposited the bulk of his wealth two years ago, is also backing introduction of GMO seeds into Africa under the cloak of the Kofi Annan-led ‘Second Green Revolution’ in Africa.

The introduction of GMO patented seeds in Africa to date has met with enormous indigenous resistance.

Health experts point out that were the intent of Gates really to improve the health and well-being of black Africans, the same hundreds of millions of dollars the Gates Foundation has invested in untested and unsafe vaccines could be used in providing minimal sanitary water and sewage systems.

Vaccinating a child who then goes to drink feces-polluted river water is hardly healthy in any respect.

But of course cleaning up the water and sewage systems of Africa would revolutionize the health conditions of the Continent.

Gates’ TED2010 comments about having new vaccines to reduce global population were obviously no off-the-cuff remark.

For those who doubt, the presentation Gates made at the TED2009 annual gathering said almost exactly the same thing about reducing population to cut global warming.

For the mighty and powerful of the Good Club, human beings seem to be a form of pollution equal to CO2.

Resources:

Bill Gates, “Innovating to Zero!, speech to the TED2010 annual conference, Long Beach, California, February 18, 2010, accessed inhttp://www.ted.com/talks/bill_gates.html.

Telegraph.co.uk, Bill Gates makes $10 billion vaccine pledge, London Telegraph, January 29, 2010, accessed in t: www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/financetopics/dav

Louise Voller, Kristian Villesen, WHO Donates Millions of Doses of Surplus Medical Supplies to Developing countries, Danish Information, 22 December 2009, accessed inhttp://www.theflucase.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=2419%3Awhos-swine-flu-jab-donations-to-developing-countries-demarks-information-reports&catid=41%3Ahighlighted-news&Itemid=105〈=en

One is the Population Research Institute in Washington, http://pop.org/

Louise Voller et al, op. cit.

Ibid.

Noted in Vaccinations and Autism, accessed inhttp://www.mercurypoisoningnews.com/vacautism.html

F. William Engdahl, Seeds of Destruction: The Hidden Agenda of Genetic Manipulation, Global Research (www.globalresearch.ca), Montreal, 2007, pp. 79-84.

James A. Miller, Are New Vaccines Laced With Birth-Control Drugs?, HLI Reports, Human Life International, Gaithersburg, Maryland; June-July 1995.

10 Cited in F. William Engdahl, “Doomsday Seed Vault” in the Arctic: Bill Gates, Rockefeller and the GMO giants know something we don’t, Global Research, December 4, 2007, accessed in http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=7529

11 Mariam Mayet, Africa’s Green Revolution rolls out the Gene Revolution, African Centre for Biosafety, ACB Briefing Paper No. 6/2009, Melville, South Africa, April 2009.

12 Ibid.

13 Nora Benachour and Gilles-Eric Seralini, Glyphosate Formulations Induce Apoptosis and Necrosis in Human Umbilical Embryonic, and Placental Cells, Chemical Research in Toxicology Journal, American Chemical Society, 2009, 22 (1), pp 97–105.

14 Robin McKie, GMO Corn Set to Stop Man Spreading His Seed, London, The Observer, 9 September 2001.

15 Ibid. McKie writes, “The pregnancy prevention plants are the handiwork of the San Diego biotechnology company Epicyte, where researchers have discovered a rare class of human antibodies that attack sperm…the company has created tiny horticultural factories that make contraceptives…Essentially, the antibodies are attracted to surface receptors on the sperm,” said Hein. “They latch on and make each sperm so heavy it cannot move forward. It just shakes about as if it was doing the lambada.”

16 Ted Turner, cited along with youTube video of Turner in Aaron Dykes, Ted Turner: World Needs a ‘Voluntary’ One-Child Policy for the Next Hundred Years, JonesReport.com, April 29, 2008. Accessed inhttp://www.jonesreport.com/article/04_08/28turner_911.html

17 John Harlow, Billionaire club in bid to curb overpopulation, London, The Sunday Times

May 24, 2009. Accessed online inhttp://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/us_and_americas/article6350303.ece.

18 Ibid.

19 United Nations Foundation, Women and Population Program, accessed inhttp://www.unfoundation.org/about-unf/experts/

(5/15 update)–Michigan Gov. Threatens To Disarm Armed Militia Protesters Tomorrow In Lansing, Widespread Violence Anticipated In Response

No citations, arrests at protest against Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s stay home orders in Lansing

Another Lansing Protest Thursday Will Keep Michigan In National Spotlight

New stay home protest planned in Lansing — and cops, leaders have message for attendees

Far-Right Group Blasts Metro Times For ‘Snitching’ About Gretchen Whitmer Threats

Facebook Bans Michigan’s Top Anti-Quarantine Group Following a Snitching Campaign by the Fake News

Mackinac Center lawsuit challenges Gov. Whitmer’s Executive Orders

Whitmer: GOP lawsuit adds a ‘constitutional crisis’ to coronavirus crisis

Michigan official says ANY protester holding a firearm should be arrested at tomorrow’s stay-at-home rally set for the Capitol after Gov. Gretchen Whitmer received death threats

  • Michigan Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey has said that anyone brandishing weapons in an intimidating way in the state Capitol will be arrested 
  • Governor Gretchen Whitmer has been the subject of numerous threats online 
  • Several groups have promoted acts of violence against Whitmer 
  • Whitmer is asking for people to wear masks and respect social distancing rules
  • Between 200-400 people are expected at Thursday’s rally
  • Last month, angry and armed demonstrators protesting the governor’s lockdown restrictions, stormed the Capitol building 

By JAMES GORDON FOR DAILYMAIL.COM 

Protestors in Michigan planning to rally at the state Capitol on Thursday are being warned that if they bring firearms to the event they will be arrested. 

The warnings come after several members of the groups planning on attending the rally called for the assassination of Governor Gretchen Whitmer which saw one man writing: ‘Can we please just take up a collection for an assassin to put that woman from Michigan down.’  

On Monday, Whitmer said she respected people’s rights to protest but was becoming ‘increasingly concerned about the violent nature of the comments being made’ and the ‘extreme rhetoric already connected to Thursday’s rally.’ 

Michigan Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey, pictured, has said that anyone brandishing weapons in an intimidating way in the state Capitol will be arrestedMichigan Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey, pictured, has said that anyone brandishing weapons in an intimidating way in the state Capitol will be arrested

Michigan Gov Gretchen Whitmer has been the subject of numerous threats made by residents of the state across multiple Facebook groups ahead of an armed rally planned for Thursday

A Facebook group, Michigan United for Liberty has billed the event as its "Judgement Day"A Facebook group, Michigan United for Liberty has billed the event as its ‘Judgement Day’

She has requested that if people decide to protest that they wear masks and practice social distancing. 

On Tuesday, Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey said that despite a longstanding rule that Michiganders with permits can bring weapons into the Capitol, ‘anyone brandishing them in such a way as to intimidate or threaten anyone else should be properly handcuffed, properly taken in and fingerprinted.

‘Law enforcement needs to take this upon their own hands,’ Shirkey said. ‘When those brandishing activities occur, they need to be addressed and I’m calling on the attorney general and the governor to do so with the cooperation of the Michigan State Police.’ 

There have also been suggestions that Michigan State Police will back up the governor’s orders on social distancing and could hand out legal citations to those breaking guidelines. 

Hundreds of people descended on Michigan's Capitol building on April 30 to protest against Whitmer extending a statewide stay-at-home orderHundreds of people descended on Michigan’s Capitol building on April 30 to protest against Whitmer extending a statewide stay-at-home order

Last month, angry and armed demonstrators protesting the governor's lockdown restrictions, stormed the Capitol building. They have been warned not to do so during Thursday's rally
Last month, angry and armed demonstrators protesting the governor’s lockdown restrictions, stormed the Capitol building. They have been warned not to do so during Thursday’s rally

Protestors tried to enter the Michigan House of Representative chamber and were kept out by the Michigan State Police on April 30Protestors tried to enter the Michigan House of Representative chamber and were kept out by the Michigan State Police on April 30

‘Based on previous demonstrations at the Capitol, it is evident that not all people voluntarily comply with the safety measures put in place,’ said state police spokeswoman Shanon Banner to Freep.com. ‘We will be prepared to take enforcement action, as necessary.’ 

Facebook has removed one of the groups called Michigan United for Liberty, which organized a rally at the Capitol last month. 

A Facebook spokesperson said the group was removed because it violated the company’s policy against inciting violence.  

The threats come just days before a planned rally at the Capitol in Lansing on Thursday. Several members wrote in the groups that they will be at the rally and hope others will be ‘armed to the teeth’.    

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/embed/video/2163162.html

A protester carries his rifle at the State Capitol in Lansing, Michigan from April's protestA protester carries his rifle at the State Capitol in Lansing, Michigan from April’s protest

Protesters carry guns outside the Capitol Building in Lansing, Michigan from an April 15 rallyProtesters carry guns outside the Capitol Building in Lansing, Michigan from an April 15 rally

The group are opposed to Whitmer’s sweeping stay-at-home orders intended to combat the spread of coronavirus.

Hundreds of people descended on Michigan’s Capitol building on April 30 to protest against Whitmer extending a statewide stay-at-home order and earlier in the month.

Earlier in the month, thousands of cars shut down traffic around the Capitol.

Photos from the ‘American Patriot Rally’ made headlines nationwide as many protesters were seen carrying assault rifles, swastikas and Confederate flags.

Whitmer called the scenes ‘disturbing’ and said they ‘depicted some of the worst racism and awful parts of our history in this country’.    

State Police say they are expecting to see between 200 and 400 people at Thursday’s rally.  

Several members of the group have called for the assassination of Whitmer ahead of Thursday's rally, with one man writing: 'Can we please just take up a collection for an assassin to put that woman from Michigan down'Several members of the group have called for the assassination of Whitmer ahead of Thursday’s rally, with one man writing: ‘Can we please just take up a collection for an assassin to put that woman from Michigan down’

 

A Divided, Delusional America All Set To Explode In Frenzy of Self-Cannibalization

[SEE: Pandemic-Related Unemployment and Shutdowns Are a Recipe for Social Unrest]

 

Have you noticed that people are a lot more emotional these days?  People are angry about the lockdowns, people are angry because others are not “properly” observing the social distancing rules, people are angry about losing their jobs, people are angry about the shortages in the stores, and more than anything else people are angry at our politicians.  Even before COVID-19 came along, I was repeatedly warning my readers that anger was rising to a very dangerous level in this country, and now this pandemic has made things far worse.  If you doubt this, just log on to Facebook and read some of the “discussions” that people are having about this coronavirus.  Many of those “discussions” rapidly devolve into venom spewing contests, and sometimes this is still true even if people are theoretically on the same side.  There is so much anger and frustration out there right now, and it is only going to get worse the closer that we get to election day.

Thankfully, so far we don’t have the sort of widespread civil unrest that we are already seeing in other nations, but the stage is certainly being set for it.  The American people don’t like being forced to put their lives on hold, they don’t like all of the new rules that have been forced upon them because of this pandemic, and they are deeply frustrated with our politicians for being unable to instantly fix things.

Of course there aren’t going to be any easy answers.  The U.S. economy has already lost 33 million jobs, and millions more will be lost in the weeks ahead.  Meanwhile, more than 76,000 Americans have already died from the coronavirus, and the overall death toll in this country is likely to be in the hundreds of thousands.

In an environment such as this, people are going to have shorter fuses than usual, and it isn’t going to take much to get people to lash out in frustration.  One of the most prominent examples of this that we have witnessed lately occurred in Austin, Texas

Austin police have arrested a man who allegedly pushed a park ranger into a lake.

The incident occurred on Thursday at Commons Ford, a public park that is home to Lake Austin, and was captured on a video posted on social media. In the video, a park ranger is seen standing near the lake’s edge telling a crowd of people to stand six feet apart when a man pushes the ranger into the water and falls in himself.

It is quite foolish to push a law enforcement officer into a lake, but the social distancing restrictions are frustrating people so much that many of them are not thinking rationally.

And in this environment it certainly isn’t going to take much to push law enforcement officials over the edge either.  Americans were stunned when video footage emerged of New Jersey police officers relentlessly beating young men with their batons for violating the social distancing rules…

Footage from a street fight on Tuesday afternoon shows a Jersey City police officer – who is white – repeatedly hitting a man – who is African American – while he’s pinned to the ground, and now activists are calling for the cops to be fired.

The clip filmed by a witness captured the man trying to raise his arms to protect his face as the law enforcement officer strikes him over and over again.

Sadly, I expect to see a lot more wild scenes in our streets like that in the months ahead.

Right now, virtually the entire country is in a really bad mood, and unfortunately some people will choose to resort to violence.

And it can happen in places that you might not expect.  For instance, an argument over social distancing rules at a McDonald’s in Oklahoma resulted in three people getting shot

Three workers at an Oklahoma City McDonald’s were injured Wednesday by gunfire and a scuffle that appeared to have started because the restaurant’s dining area was closed for social distancing during the coronavirus pandemic, police said.

I’ll never understand why people commit these sorts of acts of senseless violence.

But as our world gets even crazier, more people than ever are going to be going off the deep end.

Our nation is so deeply divided, and explosions of anger and hatred are becoming increasingly common.  So many Americans are willing to “shoot first and ask questions later”, and the shooting of a 25-year-old African-American man in Georgia is causing a national uproar

Ahmaud Arbery was fatally shot while running in a neighborhood after a former police officer and his son chased the 25-year-old man down, telling officers later that they thought he looked like the suspect in a series of recent break-ins in the area, authorities said.

On Thursday, we learned that the father and son that chased Arbery down have been arrested.  But even though they have been arrested now, it appears that this case will deepen the very deep racial tensions that already exist in this country.

I truly wish that we could all learn how to love one another, but instead I continue to see hatred rise all over America.

Needless to say, one of the big reasons why Americans hate one another these days is because of politics.  November is right around the corner, and we will likely see tremendous outbursts of anger and frustration both before and after the election.

Meanwhile, economic conditions will continue to deteriorate, and millions of Americans will become increasingly desperate.

Already, meat shortages are making headlines all over the nation

Farmers and ranchers have hogs, cattle and chicken that they feed, but can’t sell. Meatpacking plants don’t have enough workers as they get sick and have heightened anxiety. And grocery shoppers and restaurants can’t get their typical cuts or supply of meat.

Major grocers, including Kroger and Costco, added purchase limits this week for meat to prevent hoarding and help keep it in stock. Nearly a fifth of Wendy’s U.S. restaurants removed hamburgers and other beef products from their online menus, according to Stephens Inc. And another chain, Shake Shack, said rising beef prices have taken a bite into its profits.

Many Americans can deal with short-term shortages, but if these shortages stretch into the summer months a whole lot of people are going to become extremely frustrated.

Overall, I have never seen so much anger and frustration in the United States in my entire lifetime, and it is truly a recipe for disaster.

Unfortunately, I expect anger and frustration to continue to grow in the months ahead, and we could be building up to a very dangerous crescendo later in the year.

When Ridiculous Conspiracy Theories Start Costing Lives It’s Time To Reassess Them–Part 2

[By focusing our resistance to the encroaching police state on promoting outlandish, bullshit fairy tales, instead of challenging this opportunistic planned crash of the economy, we risk forcing the closure of the Internet (at least to us) and missing our one chance to use truth as a weapon in an effective manner.  At best, 5g theories are pure speculation and distraction, while covert chipping under cover of fighting the disease is pure fantasy, a diversion to distract us from fighting government terrorism in all of its forms, while we are plunged into another Great Depression with a lot of armed pissed-off Americans looking for food, as well as toilet paper.]

[SEE:  When Ridiculous Conspiracy Theories Start Costing Lives It’s Time To Reassess Them]

As ‘#Plandemic’ goes viral, those targeted by discredited scientist’s crusade warn of ‘dangerous’ claims

Initially pushed by anti-vaccination disinformation peddlers, the video was then promoted by minor celebrities.

Image: Protestors Rally At Oregon State Capitol Against Stay-At-Home Order

Protesters hold signs on the steps of the state capitol at the ReOpen Oregon Rally on May 2, 2020 in Salem, Ore.Terray Sylvester / Getty Images

By Brandy Zadrozny and Ben Collins

A video from a discredited scientist promoting a hodgepodge of conspiracy theories about the coronavirus went viral across every social media platform Thursday. It was initially pushed by anti-vaccination disinformation peddlers, and then picked up steam when it was promoted by minor celebrities.

In a matter of hours, the video became one of the most widespread pieces of coronavirus misinformation, drawing millions of views across major technology platforms. Its success underscores how misleading information about the coronavirus crisis continues to circulate, with some indications that growing fear and frustration are making conspiracy theories more appetizing to a larger audience.

The video, far more polished than other similar videos, comes as authoritative sources of information are finding it hard to compete with people who have years of experience in creating viral internet media.

“One of the real issues with getting authoritative information today is that what’s surfaced is essentially determined by whoever runs the best marketing campaign,” said Renée DiResta, who studies disinformation at the Stanford Internet Observatory.

In the film, Judy Mikovits, a prominent anti-vaccine advocate, promotes conspiracy theories about the coronavirus outbreak — its origins, treatments and government responses — couched in claims of an ongoing war with Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and the most vocal proponent of emergency measures on the White House coronavirus task force.

The film doles out dangerous advice, telling viewers that wearing a mask and washing your hands increase their risk of getting the coronavirus, and that the virus is a cover for a plot to somehow control people through vaccines.

Mikovits and the producers of the video did not respond to requests for comment.

Links to the video have reached the mainstream and dominated social media sites including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. The video has been shared by celebrities, including the comedian Larry the Cable Guy, NFL players and Instagram influencers with millions of followers.

Conspiracies crossing over to the mainstream can come with serious consequences, especially in relation to vaccines, according to David Broniatowski, an associate professor who studies weaponized health communication at George Washington University’s Institute for Data, Democracy and Politics.

He said the video of Mikovits was able to unite various groups that often traffic in health misinformation.

“The danger with movies like this is that they can weave all of the disparate streams into a common narrative, building a coalition for political and collective action, even when the reasons for this coalition aren’t universally shared,” Broniatowski said.

Mikovits claimed in a retracted 2009 study that was published in the academic journal Science that chronic fatigue syndrome, known as myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS), was caused by a retrovirus. The study was later retracted after scientists, including Mikovits’ own research group, weren’t able to replicate the results of the initial study.

Post-publication, Mikovits made claims that cells used in the vaccine production process caused ME/CFS, as well as other illnesses, like cancer.

Brian Vastag, a former science reporter at The Washington Post who previously covered the retraction of Mikovits’ paper and has ME/CFS, said his “stomach sank” when he saw the video go viral amongst friends and family members on Facebook on Thursday morning.

Vastag said people in the ME/CFS support community were concerned Mikovits would find a broader audience with people who didn’t know about her past.“We were worried that this pandemic would give her an opportunity for her to sell her books,“ he said.

False claims

The new “documentary” is one of dozens of videos from conspiracy theorists and far-right media outlets in recent months in which Mikovits’ myriad baseless claims — among them that vaccines cause harm and that medical experts and government officials responding to the coronavirus outbreak should not be trusted — have been promoted as “expert opinion.”

The viral video is filled with revisionism from Mikovits about how she became a disgraced scientist, Vastag said.

In the video, she claims she was effectively silenced and that she was “held in jail with no charges” in her fight against mainstream science.

In reality, after Mikovits was fired from her research job at the nonprofit Whittemore Peterson Institute, “she took her lab materials and computer, she ran away to California, and she got arrested,” Vastag said. She was released from jail when the institute declined to press charges.

Vastag said she has since used the anti-vaccine community to push her story as a pariah, and that her efforts to push her repeatedly debunked and retracted work are well known among those with ME/CFS.

“Most in the community understand her work is discredited,” Vastag said. “She’s completely cemented herself as a fringe figure.”Vastag had been reaching out to reporters in the last month, trying to warn them that Mikovits was attempting to use the coronavirus to push disinformation through high-profile fringe outlets.When he woke up in his home in Hawaii on Thursday to see friends and family members sharing her video on Facebook, it made him “feel kind of hopeless for science literacy in this country.”

“We didn’t want to start to highlight it a week ago, because we thought a lot of her followers were inauthentic,” he said. “When it took off, it was like a rocket.”

A rapid spread

The video and terms related to it have been among the most popular and searched topics on the internet in the past couple days.

A hashtag related to the title of the viral video, #Plandemic, trended on Twitter on Wednesday evening, with more than 30,000 overnight tweets. A Twitter spokesperson said that the Mikovits videos had not violated the company’s COVID-19 misinformation policy. Twitter did issue an “unsafe” warning on at least one link featuring Mikovits, and blocked the hashtags #PlagueOfCorruption and #Plandemicmovie from trends and search.

The amplification of Mikovits’ account appears to be authentic, according to Twitter.

“Judy Mikovits” was Google’s top trending coronavirus search Wednesday and Thursday.

YouTube had removed several versions of the videos by Thursday morning for violating its community guidelines.

“We quickly remove flagged content that violates our Community Guidelines, including content that includes medically unsubstantiated diagnostic advice for COVID-19,” a YouTube spokesperson said in a statement to NBC News.

Before the removals, the most-watched videos had already racked up more than 6 million views, according to BuzzSumo, a social media analytics tool.

The video has since been mirrored and reposted to dozens of other channels and across many platforms. On Facebook, one video was shared tens of thousands of times and attracted more than 6 million interactions in less than 24 hours, according to CrowdTangle, a Facebook-owned social media analytics company. Because CrowdTangle does not include data from private groups, the numbers are undoubtedly much higher.

The virality appears to be a product of several different conspiracy coalitions — notably anti-vaccine groups, QAnon followers and far-right extremists — promoting the video in their separate channels and groups.

A Facebook spokesperson told NBC News the platform would remove the video because “suggesting that wearing a mask can make you sick could lead to imminent harm.”

But as platforms react to contextualize, downrank or remove content like the Mikovits’ video, the people behind disinformation campaigns like this one can seize on a new opportunity: claiming that their video holds secret truths because of the constant takedowns for violating platform policy.

“The aura of limited-edition content is a promotional strategy for these media manipulators,” Joan Donovan, director of Harvard University’s Technology and Social Change Research Project, said in a text message. “In knowing they will be removed from the major platforms, they create a hype cycle around the piece of content, which would probably only get marginal engagement if it was uploaded to a regular website.”

The run-up to virality

For years, Mikovits has been telling her version of this story and selling books with anti-vaccination messages, including appearing in a documentary by conspiracy-focused website Natural News.

Her ascendancy follows a well-worn path of conspiracies and misinformation going viral after being promoted by people who at first glance seemed to be experts.

In early April, Mikovits appeared as an expert in a documentary from the Epoch Times, a far-right media group that advertises aggressively on YouTube. The film, in which she discounts the official narrative about the coronavirus originating in a seafood market with claims of a “cover-up,” has been viewed more than 4 million times on YouTube.

Later that same month, Mikovits and her claims were featured in a video published by Children’s Health Defense, an anti-vaccine organization. She also appeared at an anti-vaccination health summit last month.

Vastag said he understands why family members are sharing the conspiracy theory on Facebook and Twitter, but warned of turning to discredited science and feel-good lies to make sense of an increasingly confusing and hopeless pandemic.

“People are scared. People are dying at an alarming rate. They want answers; an easy out. They want to say somebody caused it,” he said. “But it’s very dangerous. If Americans don’t think it’s transmissible, it’s going to make this worse. And sick people, disabled people and older people are who it’ll hurt the most.”

 

When Ridiculous Conspiracy Theories Start Costing Lives It’s Time To Reassess Them

[When a lot of self-proclaimed experts on the Internet begin actually causing harm to other ignorant, suspicious people, by passing on harmful, crackpot cures for Covid and actually making our medical rescuers lives harder by inducing patients to treat them like co-conspirators in a great fraud, then it is time to call for a little more sanity and a lot less paranoia on the web.  The virus is real, thousands of people really are dying from it.  To claim that it is a cover for imaginary 5G radiation sickness/oxygen deprivation, or whatever, is insane.  Does anyone really believe that nursing homes are being targeted from space with 5G to kill-off the old people?  If you really believe that vaccines are being developed with the intention to surreptitiously inject tracking chips into our bodies, then you might ask yourself how a vaccine can be loaded into one of these chip implanting tools, or how could we not know it if we have been stabbed with something as big as a straw

Or how a chip (lifesize image)

What's Inside a Flu Shot - And Why There's Nothing to Fearcould possibly flow through a regular needle?]

‘What are we doing this for?’: Doctors are fed up with conspiracies ravaging ERs

“I left work and I felt so deflated,” one doctor said about an effort to counter misinformation he saw on Facebook. “I let it get to me.”

Image: Protestors Rally At Connecticut State Capitol Against COVID-19 Stay-At-Home Order

Demonstrators hold a Rolling Car Rally in front of Democratic Gov. Ned Lamont’s residence while protesting Connecticut’s stay-at-home order to combat the coronavirus in Hartford on Monday, May 4, 2020. John Moore / Getty Images

By Ben Collins

At the end of another long shift treating coronavirus patients, Dr. Hadi Halazun opened his Facebook page to find a man insisting to him that “no one’s dying” and that the coronavirus is “fake news” drummed up by the news media.

Hadi tried to engage and explain his firsthand experience with the virus. In reply, another user insinuated that he wasn’t a real doctor, saying pictures from his profile showing him at concerts and music festivals proved it.

“I told them: ‘I am a real doctor. There are 200 people in my hospital’s ICU,'” said Halazun, a cardiologist in New York. “And they said, ‘Give me your credentials.’ I engaged with them, and they kicked me off their wall.”

“I left work and I felt so deflated. I let it get to me.”

Halazun, like many other health care professionals, is dealing with a bombardment of misinformation and harassment from conspiracy theorists, some of whom have moved beyond posting online to pressing doctors for proof of the severity of the pandemic.

And it’s taking a toll. Halazun said dealing with conspiracy theorists is the “second most painful thing I’ve had to deal with, other than separation of families from their loved one.”

Several other doctors shared similar experiences, saying that they regularly had to treat patients who had sought care too late because of conspiracy theories spread on social media and that social media companies have to do more to counteract the forces that spread lies for profit.

Image: Anti-stay-at-home protesters in Oregon
A protester holds a sign at the ReOpen Oregon Rally in Salem, Ore., on Saturday, May 2, 2020. Terray Sylvester / Getty Images

Dr. Duncan Maru, a physician and epidemiologist in Queens, New York, said he had heard from colleagues that a young patient had come into the emergency room last week with damage to his intestinal tract after having ingested bleach. The incident occurred just days after President Donald Trump suggested that “injection” of disinfectants should be researched as a potential coronavirus treatment.

“Folks delaying seeking care or, taking the most extreme case, somebody drinking bleach as a result of structural factors just underlines the fact that we have not protected the public from disinformation,” Maru said.

The structural factors in this case include Facebook, YouTube and Twitter, which have struggled to contain the spread of misinformation, some of it coming from positions of authority.

Social networks have taken a variety of steps in recent weeks to thwart misinformation, such as providing dedicated portals for vetted information from public health officials and banning content related to conspiracy theories around 5G wireless technology.

Despite the efforts, the distribution networks built up in recent years by fringe media personalities and activists on tech platforms and through websites have proven resilient.

Whitney Phillips, a assistant professor of communications who studies the spread of disinformation at Syracuse University, said the coronavirus outbreak offers a look at how conspiracy thinking is now, in some ways, more organized.

“With conspiracy theories, the reason they’re impervious to fact-checking is that they have become a way of being in the world for believers,” Phillips said. “It isn’t just one narrative that you can debunk. It is a holistic way of being in the world that has been reinforced by all the other bulls— that these platforms have allowed people to consume for years.”

‘It scares me more than anything’

Organized harassment campaigns, lies and urban legends targeting doctors are a real-life symptom of what the World Health Organization dubbed the “infodemic” as the coronavirus started to spread throughout the world earlier this year.

Halazun has since stopped engaging with the trolls on Facebook, some of whom claimed that “the hospitals are empty” and that the virus was part of a plot to vaccinate or microchip U.S. citizens — just two of the many conspiracy theories that have swirled around the coronavirus.

But he was still left with big questions: How can people believe this stuff? And do they understand the algorithms and opportunistic extremists that led them to believe it?

“It scares me more than anything that there are people who are basically controlled — and in the same way they feel they’re fighting against that control,” he said. “They go to YouTube, where they’re really being controlled, and they don’t realize it. That’s what’s scary.”

Maru also said he felt that tech platforms need to do more to deal with disinformation, but he acknowledged that there is no easy fix.

April 23: Facebook ads, conspiracy theorists push harmful bleach consumption and UV ray cures

Beyond emergency rooms and internet platforms, there are hints of how far some coronavirus misinformation has spread. Dr. Rajeev Fernando said that when he takes questions about the coronavirus on radio shows, one out of every two callers refers to 5G towers or conspiracy theories about labs in Wuhan, China.

On the phone, sometimes they’ll listen to reality, said Fernando, an infectious diseases specialist at Stony Brook Southampton Hospital in New York.

“Some people have an agenda, and you can’t help that,” Fernando said. “But for other people, I say, ‘Let me try to answer your questions and see why you think this way and why I think this is an appropriate answer.'”

“We have to understand these [conspiracy theorists] are criminal organizations which really stop at nothing to get disinformation out,” Fernando said.

Bill Gates and 5G

Well-organized, professional disinformation peddlers in the QAnon and anti-vaccination movements have gained new audiences during the coronavirus pandemic by coalescing around two primary boogeymen: Bill Gates and 5G towers.

Halazun heard it all firsthand. He didn’t know where it all began or how to stop it.

“These anti-vaccination people were telling me I’m a sheep,” Halazun said. “Dr. Fauci this, Bill Gates that. And I don’t really care what you think about Bill Gates. It doesn’t affect me. But it does affect me when they tell me what we’re doing is not real and that the hospitals are really empty. It hurts.”

In January, a well-known promoter of QAnon, the baseless conspiracy theory that Trump is secretly dismantling a pedophile-cannibal cabal that runs the U.S. government, pushed a conspiracy theory that Gates “patented” the coronavirus based on a mischaracterized public patent search.

The patent was created by a Gates-aligned research institute to research a vaccine, a common practice among researchers, and it covered a previous coronavirus, not the one that causes COVID-19.

Still, the tweet helped spark a focus on Gates that has permeated the various conspiracy theory networks that have developed on the internet in recent years.

The same QAnon promoter later promoted a diluted form of bleach called “Miracle Mineral Solution” as a possible way to kill the coronavirus.

Similarly, the anti-vaccination movement has pushed a false conspiracy theory that 5G towers are weakening immune systems throughout the world and that COVID-19 is a cover story for the colossal death tolls around the world.

After a prominent anti-vaccination figure posted a video on Instagram of a man alongside a destroyed 5G tower, several arson fires were set on towers across Europe and Canada.

Brian Keeley, a professor of philosophy at Pitzer College in California who studies why people believe in conspiracy theories, said some people in times of crisis look to far-fetched ideas with simple answers for complex problems.

Providing a straightforward, extinguishable enemy — whether it’s a well-known celebrity like Gates or a mysterious concept like the illuminati — gives conspiracy theorists hope, agency and power in a time of chaos. In reality, those recognizable, often mortal figures are simply scapegoats for an act of God.

“People are looking for these kinds of explanations to control something in their lives,” Keeley said.

Keeley, who’s been researching conspiracy theories for over 20 years, said he has abandoned using Facebook because of the “depression that comes from looking at that.”

“It’s sort of an informational quarantine,” he said. “You don’t want to be exposing yourself to a different kind of virus.”

Quitting Facebook

After researching why people believe in the conspiracy theories, Halazun has come to the same conclusion: Right now, it’s not worth it for a doctor to spend any time on Facebook.

“We’re limited in our emotional capacity. I’m not going to spend whatever I have left after a long day of work trying to convince a conspiracy theorist,” Halazun said. “They’re immune to any evidence. You’re not going to change their mind.”

As Halazun stepped outside after his Facebook experience, he heard the bang of pots and pans and whoops and hollers. It was 7 p.m., and New York City residents were participating in their nightly salute to health care workers on the front lines of fighting the coronavirus pandemic.

“I just started crying,” Halazun said. “I thought, ‘What do I believe here?’ It almost made me question myself. Some people are out there who are sitting in their homes, going on these videos and then telling us it’s fake while we’re saving lives.

“I felt like ‘What are we doing this for?'”